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March 09, 2009

USNS Impeccable

The USNS Impeccable appears to have got itself into a spot of trouble. Nothing that a ship of the US Navy can't get itself out of, of course, but politicians and Admirlas do so hate the sort of publicity that the USNS Impeccable is getting.

Five Chinese vessels in a possibly coordinated effort yesterday “shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity” to a U.S. Navy surveillance ship in international waters, the Pentagon said.

Two of the vessels closed to within 50 feet (15 meters) of the USNS Impeccable, waving Chinese flags and telling the U.S. ship to leave the area, according to a Defense Department statement issued today. The Impeccable sprayed water from its fire hoses at one of the boats to protect itself.

The incident took place eight days after the U.S. and China agreed to resume exchanges of military officers for information sharing after China in October froze some contact to protest arms sales to Taiwan.

It has to be said that this sort of harrassment is uncommon in international waters. However, the Chinese may not regard the waters that USNS Impeccable is in as being international.

The United States defence departments say that the USNS Impeccable was "harassed" by five Chinese


including a Chinese naval vessel, trawlers and an "intelligence ship" in



The US ship was unarmed and was made up entirely of civilian mariners, the Pentagon said.

The USNS Impeccable was conducting ocean


as part of a Defence contract.

In a statement, the US Department of defence said the Chinese Naval vessel crew stripped down to their


after the the Impeccable used a water cannon to spray one of the Chinese ships that came as close as 25 feet.

In international waters this is outrageous....in territorial waters this is just fine. What causes the probem is determining just which are which:

The Pentagon charged Monday that five Chinese ships shadowed and maneuvered dangerously close to a U.S. Navy vessel in an apparent attempt to harass the American crew.

The Obama administration said the incident Sunday followed several days of “increasingly aggressive” acts by Chinese ships in the region.

A Chinese intelligence ship and four others surrounded the USNS Impeccable, an unarmed vessel with a civilian merchant marine crew, as the craft conducted ocean surveys in international waters in the South China Sea, the Defense Department said in a statement.
There's an awful lot of islands and reefs out there where people are arguing whether they make a certain part of the South China Sea territorial waters of international. The Spratly Islands come to mind as one of them.

More information in these news stories:

Chinese Vessels Harass US Navy Ship, Pentagon Says
Bloomberg - USA
Two of the vessels closed to within 50 feet (15 meters) of the USNS Impeccable, waving Chinese flags and telling the US ship to leave the area, according to ...

US says Chinese vessels harassed Navy ship
elEconomista.es - Madrid,Madrid,Spain
The Chinese vessels "shadowed and aggressively manoeuvred in dangerously close proximity" to the USNS Impeccable and its crew of civilian contractors, ...

USNS Impeccable: Chinese Vessels Harass US Navy Ship
Right Pundits - Lafayette,CA,USA
By beth The USNS Impeccable is an unarmed US Navy ocean surveillance ship. The US embassy in Beijing has lodged a protest with China that on Sunday five ...
Pentagon: Chinese vessels harassed unarmed ship
The Associated Press

The USNS Impeccable sprayed one ship with water from fire hoses to force it away. Despite the force of the water, Chinese crew members stripped to their ...
Chinese Vessels Harass US Ships in International Waters
Voice of America - USA
A news release says two of the Chinese ships stopped directly in front of the USNS Impeccable, forcing it to make an emergency stop. ...
Deutsche Welle - Germany
A Defense Department statement said the Chinese vessels at one point closed to within 8 meters of the ocean surveillance ship, the USS Impeccable, ...

Chinese Vessels Harass USNS Impeccable. Time to be concerned?
The Inquisitr - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
Five Chinese vessels “shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity” to the USNS Impeccable, a US surveillance ship operating in ...
Chinese ships 'harass' US vessel
BBC News - UK
The incident happened as the USNS Impeccable was on routine operations in international waters 75 miles (120km) south of Hainan island, a US statement said. ...
Pentagon: Five Chinese vessels harass US ship
Stars and Stripes - Washington,DC,USA
In what the Pentagon says is the fourth such incident in less than a week, the USNS Impeccable, a contract ship in the Military Sealift Command carrying a ...

March 9, 2009 in Military | Permalink


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