(What if) Russia Hacked the Ever Given?

The massive Ever Given container ship currently blocking Egypt’s Suez Canal since March 23, 2021 has become a major disruptor to world trade. Attributed to a sandstorm, high winds, or even claims of a power blackout, the logistical nightmare has not been claimed to be an intentional act.

The ship’s movements in the time before it entered the canal and became wedged can be described as “odd”. It seems presumptuous to me to call it “innocent, but terrible luck”. 

On the other hand, with a growing body of research that Russia in particular has pioneered GPS spoofing as a form of electronic warfare, and that even several hundred dollars of off the shelf technology may be able to commandeer multi-million dollar ships using GPS hacking techniques – isn’t it worth asking – like asking about the collisions of Navy ships in the South China Sea – if some kind of GPS hacking could be involved here? And specifically the sort which might be in the interest of Russia or another authoritarian state? It’s a responsible, and informed question.

It does not give me good feelings that Russia (specifically Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency) is taking advantage of the blocked canal to build awareness of the Northern Sea Route which is now navigable due to global warming and Russia’s fleet of ice breakers.

It has been just over a month since the first winter experimental transit of the Northern Sea Route by a container ship accompanied by a nuclear ice breaker.

Vladimir Putin has apparently been promoting the Northern Sea Route for a long time as an alternative to the Suez canal. It seems clear by a read of the history that the Northern Sea Route factors into strategic plans to disrupt the American-led global economic order.

In order to be sure this was all an accident, I really need to know more about the captain of the Ever Given. Were they as reckless as the GPS path of the ship suggests? I tend to think this would be a role given to a mature captain not given over to juvenile demonstrations.

Or perhaps, was the ship under control by hackers and the GPS cock(a)doodle was their “signature”?

Or was someone on the inside even paid off in something like Bitcoin to do it?

Knowing more about the captain and crew of the Ever Given could shed a lot of light on this situation. Writing this off as innocent given the immediate consequences is far too presumptuous. Even the Russians are asking if Moscow benefits from the crisis.

As of now, I am left with just one main suspect for possessing the theoretical crime signature.

Edit 4/12/2021:  I’ve watched a few videos of ship captains talking about the GPS track image which has made me less confident that the image created was purposeful. The path was created over a relatively long time period of several hours, which doesn’t seem to be a likely scenario if it was purposeful.

Instead, the pattern may be caused by the boat drifting and returning to the designated point where it would have picked up the local captains for the Suez transit. 

However, I’ve also just learned that Russian Navy vessels conducting training were in the area. According to Wikipedia, these were “Steregushchiy-class corvette Stoikiy and Altay-class oiler Kola“. I think this is interesting as far as being a consistent linkage to Russian military in this theory.

It might also be worth asking if the explosion in QAnon conspiracies about the ship blocking the canal being due to hacking are also an inorganic byproduct of influence operations.  

With that said, there needs to be a lot more evidence to call this a hacking, though I still think it is plausible and likely attributable to a Russian, or Russian-Chinese strategy if so. Both countries have focused on weakening the ‘West’ and exploiting the melting Arctic for trade purposes. 

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