A starboard bow view of the Military Sealift Command survey ship USNS PATHFINDER (T-AGS-60) underway on builder's acceptance trials.

China Confiscates an Underwater American Drone from the Ocean

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An unmanned underwater drone was deployed into international waters by a United States Navy ship. On Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook gave a statement which reported that a Chinese warship had confiscated the underwater vehicle out of international waters. This unmanned drone device was deployed by the USNS Bowditch, which is an oceanographic survey ship. The Navy crew had sent two underwater drones into the sea in compliance with international law. These drones were meant to measure the temperature and salinity of the water.

As the story goes, the USNS Bowditch was in the midst of retrieving one of their underwater drones when the Chinese warship came up next to their ship. Then, the Chinese ship sent a smaller boat into the water which ended up confiscating the second underwater drone. The crew on the Navy ship sent radio messages to the Chinese warship, requesting they give back the drone that they took from the water. The Chinese crew just acknowledged their radio transmission, but failed to comply with their request.

Fortunately, no shots or violence broke out between the two ships. After the drone was retrieved, the Chinese ship replied to the Navy ship with a message that it would go back to its regular operations, and were taking the drone. Now, the Pentagon has made a formal request for China to give back the drone right away in order to comply with international law.

The international waters where the drone was retrieved happened to be in the South China Sea, where territorial disputes have been made over it for a while. China has aggressively insisted that they own the waters, since they are economically significant to them. In fact, China has built their own artificial islands in the South China Sea for their military. This has caused other countries in the world to be greatly concerned.

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