History Main / SpyShip

8th Jul '17 11:30:45 AM nombretomado
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** The USSR had at least ten types of these, such as the "Okean" and "Primorye" classes. Much of their commercial fishing fleet was, according to TheOtherWiki, also engaged in spying ops on the side. These "trawlers" frequently were used to spy on US carrier battle groups as that was the greatest threat to the Soviet Navy. It helped that all those ships were state-owned anyway.

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** The USSR had at least ten types of these, such as the "Okean" and "Primorye" classes. Much of their commercial fishing fleet was, according to TheOtherWiki, Wiki/TheOtherWiki, also engaged in spying ops on the side. These "trawlers" frequently were used to spy on US carrier battle groups as that was the greatest threat to the Soviet Navy. It helped that all those ships were state-owned anyway.
30th May '17 8:20:53 PM Ominae
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* North Korean intelligence agencies have used this lately to conduct intelligence ops near Japanese/South Korean territorial waters. One such incident in Japan to the formation of the JMSDF's Special Boarding Unit.
14th May '17 5:16:51 PM nombretomado
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* Free Traders can sometimes do this in ''{{Traveller}}''.

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* Free Traders can sometimes do this in ''{{Traveller}}''.
''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}''.
6th May '17 2:17:22 PM maxwellsilver
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** The episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS3E4BartTheMurderer "Bart the Murderer"]] featured a pizza van with satellite dishes on the roof listening in on the Simpsons when Bart is accused of murder. Marge notes it had been there a week and asks how long it takes to deliver a pizza. The van drives off and is replaced with another van with "'''F'''lowers '''B'''y '''I'''rene" on the side.
** [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS22E12HomerTheFather "Homer the Father"]], a 2011 episode had a series of these, each of them having the initials of an American government agency [[IThoughtItMeant but standing for something completely different]] ([[ChinaTakesOverTheWorld CIA = Chinese Intelligence Agency]], [[CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys FBI = French Bureau of Investigation]], and [[Series/TheATeam ATF = A-Team of Finland]]).

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** The episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS3E4BartTheMurderer "Bart the Murderer"]] featured a pizza van with satellite dishes on the roof listening in on the Simpsons when Bart is accused of murder. Marge notes it had been there a week and asks how long it takes to deliver a pizza. The van drives off and is replaced with another van with "'''F'''lowers '''B'''y '''I'''rene" on the side.
side (provides the page image for VanInBlack).
** [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS22E12HomerTheFather "Homer the Father"]], a 2011 episode had a series of these, each of them having the initials of an American government agency [[IThoughtItMeant but standing for something completely different]] ([[ChinaTakesOverTheWorld CIA different (CIA = Chinese Intelligence Agency]], [[CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys Agency, FBI = French Bureau of Investigation]], and [[Series/TheATeam Investigation, and ATF = A-Team ''Series/TheATeam'' of Finland]]).
Finland).
6th May '17 2:15:22 PM maxwellsilver
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** The episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS3E4BartTheMurderer "Bart the Murderer"]] featured one with the letters F-B-I painted prominently on the side. (The letters stood for "Flowers By Irene".) Cue the line, "I wonder why that [moving van / florist's van / pizza delivery van / whatever] has been parked there for two weeks," or similar, whereupon the van instantly screeched away and was replaced by another (that was just as suspicious).

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** The episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS3E4BartTheMurderer "Bart the Murderer"]] featured one a pizza van with the letters F-B-I painted prominently satellite dishes on the side. (The letters stood for "Flowers By Irene".) Cue roof listening in on the line, "I wonder why that [moving van / florist's van / pizza delivery van / whatever] has Simpsons when Bart is accused of murder. Marge notes it had been parked there for two weeks," or similar, whereupon the a week and asks how long it takes to deliver a pizza. The van instantly screeched away drives off and was is replaced by with another (that was just as suspicious).van with "'''F'''lowers '''B'''y '''I'''rene" on the side.



** In 2013 the RussiansWithRustingRockets commissioned the first Project 18280 [=ElInt=] ship, which will rely on low-signature "stealth" tech rather than being BeneathSuspicion, and will likely spy on the US "missile shield", which the Russians refuse to believe to be [[BlatantLies designed to stop Iranian missiles]]. HereWeGoAgain, Cold War!
** Also, the Soviets outdid everyone in regards to size. In order to spy on US missile tests in the Pacific, they commissioned one Project 1941 Titan ship, the [[Franchise/MassEffect SSV]]-33 ''Ural'', which used the stretched hull of the Project 1144 Orlan nuclear-powered heavy cruiser (a.k.a. the [[ReportingNames Kirov battlecruiser]]), and was the '''single biggest Soviet surface ship ever'''. SoMuchForStealth.

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** In 2013 the RussiansWithRustingRockets commissioned the first Project 18280 [=ElInt=] ship, which will rely on low-signature "stealth" tech rather than being BeneathSuspicion, and will likely spy on the US "missile shield", which the Russians refuse to believe to be [[BlatantLies designed to stop Iranian missiles]].missiles. HereWeGoAgain, Cold War!
** Also, the Soviets outdid everyone in regards to size. In order to spy on US missile tests in the Pacific, they commissioned one Project 1941 Titan ship, the [[Franchise/MassEffect SSV]]-33 SSV-33 ''Ural'', which used the stretched hull of the Project 1144 Orlan nuclear-powered heavy cruiser (a.k.a. the [[ReportingNames Kirov battlecruiser]]), and was the '''single biggest Soviet surface ship ever'''. SoMuchForStealth.



* USS Pueblo. This was a rather less subtle type, rather than being disguised as a commonplace civilian vessel it was openly a US Navy vessel, but officially a "technical research ship" that was supposedly [[BlatantLies researching atmospheric phenomena]]. The lack of a disguise meant that such ships could be equipped with a more extensive array of electronic surveillance devices it also meant their true mission was pretty much an open secret.
** Another "technical research ship" was the USS Liberty, infamously attacked by the Israeli military in an apparent case of mistaken identity during the [[UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict Six Day War]]. Whether Israel actually mistook the Liberty for a much smaller Egyptian ship as claimed remains deeply controversial to this day and quickly became fodder for conspiracy theories.
* In modern times submarines have largely taken over this role from surface vessels as they are more easily able to escape detection(obviously). This largely happened as a result of the USS Pueblo incident. This is known as ELINT(Electronic Intelligence) and is one of the most useful purposes for submarines today.

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* USS Pueblo. ''Pueblo''. This was a rather less subtle type, rather than being disguised as a commonplace civilian vessel it was openly a US Navy vessel, but officially a "technical research ship" that was supposedly [[BlatantLies researching atmospheric phenomena]].phenomena. The lack of a disguise meant that such ships could be equipped with a more extensive array of electronic surveillance devices it also meant their true mission was pretty much an open secret.
** Another "technical research ship" was the USS Liberty, ''Liberty'', infamously attacked by the Israeli military in an apparent case of mistaken identity during the [[UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict Six Day War]]. Whether Israel actually mistook the Liberty for a much smaller Egyptian ship as claimed remains deeply controversial to this day and quickly became fodder for conspiracy theories.
* In modern times submarines have largely taken over this role from surface vessels as they are more easily able to escape detection(obviously). detection (obviously). This largely happened as a result of the USS Pueblo ''Pueblo'' incident. This is known as ELINT(Electronic ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and is one of the most useful purposes for submarines today.
6th May '17 1:24:11 PM AthenaBlue
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** Truth in television, see real life below

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** Truth in television, see real life belowReal Life below.



* ''Polar Star'' by Martin Cruz Smith. The protagonist discovers that the Soviet factory ship he's working on is broadcasting fake submarine signals meant to be picked up by an American spy vessel -- one of the trawlers that provide their fish.
* Tom Clancy's ''Without Remorse'' has Russian "fishing trawlers" following a fleet battlegroup on a highly classified and sensitive mission. Fortunately, they're known to be gathering intel and are easily fooled.



* At one point in ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', smuggler and information broker Talon Karrde is discreetly informed by an ally that the ally's ships will attack the Imperial shipyard at Bilbringi. In order to spy on the resulting chaos, Karrde arranges for his ships to take on a legitimate shipping contract to deliver parts to Bilbringi (a ruse which he uses several times, equally often for spying or sabotage). [[MeaningfulBackgroundEvent While there]], they also happen to record a mysterious but trivial detail that ultimately proves highly valuable to the New Republic.

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* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' story [[Recap/DoctorWhoS25E1RemembranceOfTheDaleks "Remembrance of the Daleks"]] has a variation. The Seventh Doctor encounters an antenna van that ''seems'' to be tracking who's paid their TV license fee, but is actually tracking alien (read: Dalek) energy signatures.

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* ''Polar Star'' by Martin Cruz Smith. The protagonist discovers that the Soviet factory ship he's working on is broadcasting fake submarine signals meant to be picked up by an American spy vessel -- one of the trawlers that provide their fish.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends'':
**
At one point in ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', smuggler and information broker Talon Karrde is discreetly informed by an ally that the ally's ships will attack the Imperial shipyard at Bilbringi. In order to spy on the resulting chaos, Karrde arranges for his ships to take on a legitimate shipping contract to deliver parts to Bilbringi (a ruse which he uses several times, equally often for spying or sabotage). [[MeaningfulBackgroundEvent While there]], they also happen to record a mysterious but trivial detail that ultimately proves highly valuable to the New Republic.

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Republic.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' story Tom Clancy's ''Without Remorse'' has Russian "fishing trawlers" following a fleet battlegroup on a highly classified and sensitive mission. Fortunately, they're known to be gathering intel and are easily fooled.

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* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
[[Recap/DoctorWhoS25E1RemembranceOfTheDaleks "Remembrance of the Daleks"]] has a variation. The Seventh Doctor encounters an antenna van that ''seems'' to be tracking who's paid their TV license fee, but is actually tracking alien (read: Dalek) energy signatures.



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22nd Dec '16 4:46:10 PM StarTropes
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* An episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' takes place aboard the USNS ''Chimera'', a naval "black ship" disguised as an ordinary tramp steamer. Its mission is confidentially revealed to be collecting microbial samples for potential bio-warfare research--and then ''that'' turns out to be a smokescreen. Its ''real'' mission is to recover an old Soviet nuclear warhead before Russian privateers do.
1st Dec '16 1:51:33 PM GuyIncog
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* The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSF_Explorer Hughes Glomar Explorer]], built under the cover of being a mineral exploration ship, was actually used by the CIA in an attempt to salvage a sunken Soviet missile submarine. During the mission, the ship was even shadowed by a Soviet "fishing trawler" of the kind mentioned above.

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* The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSF_Explorer Hughes Glomar Explorer]], built under the cover of being a mineral exploration ship, was actually used by the CIA in an attempt to salvage a sunken Soviet missile submarine. During the mission, In a double example of this trope, the ship was even shadowed during its mission by a Soviet "fishing trawler" of the kind mentioned above.
1st Dec '16 1:49:53 PM GuyIncog
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* The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSF_Explorer Hughes Glomar Explorer]], built under the cover of being a mineral exploration ship, was actually used by the CIA in an attempt to salvage a sunken Soviet missile submarine. During the mission, the ship was even shadowed by a Soviet "fishing trawler" of the kind mentioned above.
7th Aug '16 9:05:35 PM Moopsball
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* ''Your'' ship in ''VideoGame/SunlessSea''. Most of your early-game income will be from collecting port reports and picking up information packets from spies for the Admiralty. You can even try to set up your own spy networks in a few ports.
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