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US destroyer came dangerously close to Russian warship in Mediterranean — defense ministry

June 28, 14:51 UTC+3
The US warship approached Russia's Yaroslav Mudry frigate in the Mediterranean Sea on June 17
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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely in the Atlantic Ocean (archive)

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely in the Atlantic Ocean (archive)

© EPA/MC3 TAMARA VAUGHN / US NAVY / HANDOUT

MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. The US guided missile destroyer Gravely moved dangerously close to the Russian warship Yaroslav Mudry in the Mediterranean Sea on June 17, violating the international rules for preventing collisions at sea, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

"On June 17, the US guided missile destroyer Gravely came within a dangerously close distance of 60-70 meters from the Russian warship along the left side and crossed the sailing route of the frigate Yaroslav Mudry at a dangerous distance of 180 meters from the ship’s bow," the Defense Ministry said.

"The Russian warship was sailing in international waters, maintaining constant course and speed, and was not making any dangerous maneuver towards the US ship," the ministry added.

The US destroyer’s crew violated the international rules for preventing collisions at sea (IRPCS-71) and also point 1, clause 3 of the 1972 Russian-US Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas. Pursuant to this point, "In all cases ships operating in proximity to each other … shall remain well clear to avoid risk of collision," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"In particular, the US sailors ignored rule 13 ["Overtaking"], which prescribes that any vessel overtaking any other "shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken" and rule 15 ["Crossing Situation"], which clearly defines that "when two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel," the ministry’s press office said.

The US destroyer’s crew also violated point 1, clause 3 of the 1972 Russian-US Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas. Pursuant to this point, "In all cases ships operating in proximity to each other … shall remain well clear to avoid risk of collision," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"It should be noted that the US Department of Defense has been persistently accusing Russian pilots and sailors of the lack of professionalism. However, this incident related to the dangerous maneuver of the guided missile destroyer Gravely shows that US Navy sailors allow themselves forgetting about the fundamental principles of navigation security and giving no thought about the consequences this dangerous maneuvering may cause in the areas of intensive shipping," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

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