Chinese submarine's collision with US sonar array accidental

Chinese submarine's collision with US sonar array accidental, say Chinese experts
China National News
Monday 15th June, 2009

Beijing, June 15 : Chinese military experts have claimed that the collision which took place between a Chinese submarine and an underwater sonar array towed by a US warship in the South China Sea, could have been due to misjudgment of distance.

The assumption of an "inadvertent encounter" was seconded by the United States.

According to a CNN report, the collision occurred last Thursday as the destroyer USS John S. McCain was sailing in the sea.

The report quoted a US military official as saying that the sonar array used to listen and locate underwater sounds was damaged in the incident, but fortunately the sub and ship did not collide.

He added that the US Navy did not consider the incident a harassing move by Beijing, as it would have been extremely dangerous had the array got caught in the submarine's propellers.

While both China's Ministry of National Defense and the Pentagon have not commented on the incident so far, but Chinese experts' views are on the same lines as Washington.

"The destroyer USS John S. McCain isn't a professional anti-sub ship, while such US destroyers stopped carrying sonar arrays after the collapse of the former Soviet Union," said Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher with the People's Liberation Army Navy Equipment Research Center.

"According to the CNN report, the US destroyer seems to have failed to detect the sub, while the sub set its distance from the US ship based on the assumption it wasn't carrying sonar arrays. It's highly possible that's the reason for the incident," China Daily quoted Yin, as saying.

Major General Luo Yuan, a senior researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, said the existence of US ships in the South China Sea was cause for potential incidents.

"The best way to avoid such collisions is for the Pentagon to stop its unfriendly moves toward China in this region," he said.
Accidents do happen when navigators don't adhere to marine safety manuals. There should be an expensive investigation.
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