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U.S. Navy: Russian Warship's 'Unsafe' Move Nearly Caused Collision With Cruiser

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville was forced to "execute all engines back full" and move out of the way of a Russian destroyer in the Philippine Sea, the U.S. Navy says. The Chancellorsville is seen here during a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean.
MC2 Anaid Banuelos Rodriguez U.S. Navy
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville was forced to "execute all engines back full" and move out of the way of a Russian destroyer in the Philippine Sea, the U.S. Navy says. The Chancellorsville is seen here during a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Navy says "unsafe and unprofessional" maneuvers by a Russian destroyer nearly caused a collision in the Philippine Sea, when the warship came within 50-100 feet of the USS Chancellorsville, a missile cruiser that was busy recovering a helicopter. The U.S. ship had to take drastic action to avoid the Russian craft, the Navy says.

The U.S. 7th Fleet says the Russian ship, which has been identified as the Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine destroyer, "maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville, accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance."

The 7th Fleet adds, "This unsafe action forced USS Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision."

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Shortly before the near-collision, the U.S. ship had been on "a steady course and speed," the 7th Fleet says.

The Russian military is offering a different version of events, with state media Tass reporting that it was the U.S. ship that "impeded" the Russian warship's passage. In that narrative, the Chancellorsville is accused of veering in front of the Vinogradov after being on a parallel course.

The incident occurred around 11:45 a.m. local time Friday, the U.S. Navy says. The service initially tweeted out two videos of the close encounter, but those tweets were deleted. The videos surfaced anyway, however: They show the ships nearing one another on adjacent courses, operating under clear conditions and calm seas.

The vessels were close enough that their sailors could see each other from their decks. In an odd sight, the videos show several Russian service members were sunbathing on an aft platform aboard the destroyer as it nears the American warship.

The 7th Fleet says it considers the actions by Russia's navy to be unsafe and violation of the internationally recognized "rules of the road" and other maritime standards.

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