U.S. says Chinese vessels harassed Navy ship
"Sounds like Another USS Liberty (AGTR-5) in the making .The last one Seizure was
USS Pueblo (AGER-2) -- by North Korea, January 1968 ."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Five Chinese ships including a Chinese naval vessel harassed a U.S. Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, at one point closing to within 25 feet of the ocean surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.
A Defense Department statement said the Chinese vessels "shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity" to the USS Impeccable, which was conducting routine operations in international waters 75 miles south of Hainan Island.
The Pentagon identified the Chinese vessels as a Navy intelligence ship, a bureau of maritime fisheries patrol vessel, a state oceanographic administration patrol vessel, and two small Chinese-flagged trawlers.
The Pentagon said the U.S. ship was operated by a civilian crew under contract with the Defense Department and accused the Chinese vessels of violating international law.
"We will be certainly letting the Chinese officials know of our displeasure with respect to this careless and reckless, unprofessional ... maneuver," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
Two Chinese vessels surrounded the Impeccable, while two closed to within 50 feet waving Chinese flags and telling the U.S. Navy ship to leave, the statement said.
The Navy ship responded by spraying one of the vessels with its fire hoses, but the Chinese ship closed further to within 25 feet and its crew members disrobed to their underwear, the Pentagon said.
It said the Impeccable informed the Chinese ships by radio that it was leaving the area and requested a safe path to navigate. But two of the Chinese vessels stopped directly in front of the U.S. ship and dropped pieces of wood in its path.
"The unprofessional maneuvers by Chinese vessels violated the requirement under international law to operate with due regard for the rights and safety of other lawful users of the ocean," Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Major Stewart Upton said in a statement.
"We expect Chinese ships to act responsibly and refrain from provocative activities that could lead to miscalculation or a collision at sea."