China Harasses Unarmed US Ship: Pentagon

photo from:
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2009 9:40 AM CDT
In this file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a dolphin leaps from sea surface as a cargo ship of China Ocean Shipping Group Company sails in the Gulf of Aden.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Pentagon says Chinese ships maneuvered dangerously close to an unarmed US Navy vessel yesterday in what appeared an effort to harass the American crew. The Navy is said to have sprayed one ship with fire hoses to force it away, and the Chinese crew members stripped to their underwear and closed to within 25 feet.

The USNS Impeccable, an unarmed vessel with a civilian merchant marine crew, was taking ocean surveys in international waters in the South China Sea, says the Pentagon, when a Chinese intelligence ship and several others surrounded it. The Obama administration plans to protest in a message to be delivered to Beijing’s military attaché at a Pentagon meeting today.