New York - (Ass Mess): A Russian mini-submarine used to claim hydrocarbon prospecting rights underneath the Arctic Ocean has been caught spying on the ocean-going liner the Queen Mary II which was berthed just outcide New York City this morning.
Police stopped the egg-shaped, mini-submarine which was discovered floating in the harbour.
New York Ports Authority sources said today that the vessel was designed for "underwater espionage" and seems to be a replica of the ill-fated Kursk nuclear sub which sank on August 18 2000 killing all 118 crew members.
Police sources have now confirmed that three men have been charged with harbour regulations breaches and that terrorism has not been ruled out at this stage.
Raymond Kelly, New York Police Commissioner said today that the mini-sub "is the creative craft of three adventuresome individuals".
"It damned well looks like espionage to us!
"We can best summarise today's incident as more Russian marine mischief."
Harbourmasters' officials first spotted the handmade wooden vessel floating some 60 metres from the Queen Mary II inside the liner's security zone.
"The vessel was conducting espionage," said Coast Guard officer Angelia Rorison.
"It had no lights, no flares. It was not registered."
An official complaint is being filed through the usual diplomatic channels.