Naval Incidents Between the United States and China (2009)



Naval Incidents Between the United States and China (2009)

In 2009, several incidents took place between the military forces of the United States and the military forces of the People's Republic of China at sea. Below is a listing of these naval and air incidents.




March 8, 2009--Five Chinese vessels harassed and obstructed the USNS Impeccable in the South China Sea, 70 mile from the coast of the Chineses island of Hainan. The Chinese ships surrounded the Impeccable and two of the ships closed to within 50 feet of the American ship. The Chinese ships included a Chinese navy intelligence collection ship, a Bureau of Maritime Fisheries patrol vessel, a State Oceanographic Administration patrol vessel and two small Chinese-flagged trawlers.

Crewmen aboard the Impeccable used fire hoses to spray one of the harassiing Chinese ships as a protective measure. The Chinese crewmembers stripped to their underwear and continued manning their posts, closing to within 25 feet of the Americans.

The Chinese also dropped pieces of wood into the water directly in the Impeccable’s path, and two of the ships halted directly in the U.S. vessel’s path, forcing it to stop.

Chinese sailors used poles, attempting to snag the Impeccable’s towed acoustic array sonars. Impeccable used bridge-to-bridge radio contact to inform the Chinese ships that it was leaving the area and requested a safe path to navigate.

China accused the U.S. Navy of conducting illegal surveying off southern Hainan island.


March 7, 2009--A Chinese naval vessel challenged the USNS Impeccable via bridge-to-bridge radio, accusing the Impeccable of conducting illegal operations and told the American ship to leave the area or “suffer the consequences.”

March 5, 2009--Chinese maritime aircraft “buzzed” the USNS Impeccable 12 times. This came after an incident earlier in the day.

March 5, 2009 --A Chinese frigate crossed the bow of the USNS Impeccable at a range of about 100 yards

March 4, 2009--A Chinese patrol vessel shined a high-intensity spotlight on the USNS Victorious, while it was operating in the Yellow Sea some 125 miles from the Chinese coast.



June 12, 2009--A Chinese submarine hit an underwater sonar array being towed by the destroyer USS John McCain on June 11, 2009. The sonar array received damage, but the Chinese submarine and the American destroyer did not collide. This incident occurred near Subic Bay, Philippines.




Sources and Links:
Sub collides with sonar array towed by U.S. Navy ship--CNN, June 12, 2009

US claims naval clash with China--FT.com, March 10, 2009

Chinese Vessels Shadow, Harass Unarmed U.S. Survey Ship--American Forces Press Service, March 9, 2009



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