Chinese nuclear submarine in Karachi, Pakistan

February 9, 2017

A recent story in the news was about a Chinese nuclear submarine being spotted in Google Earth imagery showing it docked in port at Karachi, Pakistan. The image in question was from May, 2016:

Submarine in Karachi, May 2016.

Since then, a new image from October 2016 has been added to Google Earth:

Another submarine in Karachi, October 2016.

But the submarine in the October image appears smaller, so is probably a Pakistan owned submarine. We can see two Pakistani submarines in a later October image in a different part of the port:

Pakistani submarines in Karachi, October 2016.

This makes us wonder whether or not it would be worthwhile for countries around the world to build roofs over their military ports to hide the movements of their submarines given the current easy access to satellite imagery.

We also wonder to what extent militaries around the world use Google Earth imagery to monitor other nations, or do they rely on their own sources. Our guess is that in this case, Indian intelligence services were well aware of the submarines visit long before it appeared in a Google Earth image.

Tanker Explosion
In November 2016, not far from the Karachi port, also in Pakistan, at the Gadani shipbreaking yard, an oil tanker that was being dismantled there exploded, killing at least six people and injuring over two hundred. Digital Globe captured an image of the location soon after as part of their FirstLook program

The oil tanker that exploded.

To find the above locations in Google Earth download this KML file.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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