China seizes unmanned US research submarine

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An undated U.S. Navy file photo of the USNS Bowditch. (U.S. Navy)
From Stripes.com
An undated U.S. Navy file photo of the USNS Bowditch. (U.S. Navy)

China seizes unmanned US research submarine

by: Tara Copp | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 17, 2016

WASHINGTON – A Chinese ship seized an underwater, unmanned U.S. research vessel while American sailors watched, the Pentagon said Friday.

China seized the submarine midday Thursday after pulling alongside the USNS Bowditch, a U.S. oceanographic survey ship, as it was stopped in international waters of the South China Sea, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The ship was near the Philippines about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay when the submarine was seized, Davis said.

The Bowditch was stopped in the water, retrieving two unmanned submarines when a Chinese Dalang III class ship “came alongside of it, put a small boat in the water, went out and seized one of these [unmanned vessels] itself,” Davis said.

“There were multiple attempts made over bridge-to-bridge radio to demand it back,” Davis said. The Chinese ship “acknowledged the communications on bridge-to-bridge radio. It wasn’t a radio problem. But ignored the request for it to be returned and took it.”

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