Sub collides with sonar towed by U.S. Navy ship near Subic
From Barbara Starr - CNN
In what a U.S. military official calls an "inadvertent encounter," a Chinese submarine hit an underwater sonar array being towed by the destroyer USS John McCain on Thursday.
The array was damaged, but the sub and the ship did not collide, the official said. A sonar array is a radar towed behind a ship that listens and locates underwater sounds.
The incident occurred near Subic Bay off the coast of the Philippines.
The official, who declined to be named because the incident had not been made public, would not say whether the U.S. ship knew the submarine was that close to it.
However, the Navy does not believe this was a deliberate incident of Chinese harassment, as it would have been extremely dangerous had the array gotten caught in the submarine's propellers.
The Navy has complained in the past that Chinese vessels, including fishing boats, have deliberately tried to disrupt U.S. naval activities in international waters near China. In one widely publicized incident in March, five Chinese vessels maneuvered close enough to the USNS Impeccable to warrant the use of a fire hose by the unarmed American vessel to avoid a collision. The Navy later released video of that incident.
Philippine Navy: US ship, China sub didn't clash in Subic
The Philippine Navy said on Saturday that the US military had not made any request to allow the entry of its warship in Philippine waters in light of reports that a sonar array carried by the US warship, USS John McCain, collided with a Chinese submarine off the Subic coast.
"We have no (military) exercise that would justify its presence here. And besides, if there will be vessel like that, we should have information about it," said Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo.
"The protocol that we are following is that any vessel, not necessarily US vessels, but all vessels from any country, would have to request passage from us if they want to enter our area of responsibility, especially if you are a warship. That’s a convention, a matter of courtesy," said Arevalo.
Regarding the case of the destroyer USS John McCain, the Navy spokesman said there was no request that was forwarded to the military.
"There was none," said Arevalo, regarding the need to seek the Philippine government's permission. "So we would like to presume that it didn't happen (in Subic)... We maintained it could have happened in international waters."
There were reports indicating that a US ship was pulling the sonar array near Subic last Thursday when it ran into a Chinese submarine.
"If that indeed happened, we maintain it could have happened in international waters, and it (US ship) went to Subic because it’s the nearest facility that is capable of accommodating that form of vessel because it’s a former US base," said Arevalo. abs-cbnNEWS.com