gCaptain has just obtained photos showing a confrontation involving the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Decatur and a Chinese Navy warship in the disputed South China Sea over the weekend.
The U.S. Navy confirmed the incident on Tuesday, accusing China’s navy of conducting an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver” that nearly led to a collision as the U.S. destroyer was underway “in the vicinity” of Gaven Reef in the Spratly Islands on Sunday, September 30.
According to a Navy spokesman, during the incident, the Chinese warship “approached within 45 yards of Decatur’s bow, after which Decatur maneuvered to prevent a collision.”
As was reported over the weekend, the USS Decatur on Sunday conducted the U.S. Navy’s latest freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, coming within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson Reefs claimed by China.
China issued a statement Tuesday accusing the U.S. of violating its “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea islands. “We strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake and stop such provocative actions to avoid undermining China-U.S. relations and regional peace and stability,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday in a statement.
Below is a sequence of photos showing the USS Decatur, pictured left, and the Chinese warship, PRC 170, on the right:
Around this point (below), the two warships were within 45 yards of each other:
The photos below show the USS Decatur maneuvering to avoid the collision: