Russia says a US destroyer came “dangerously close” to a Russian warship in the Mediterranean, according to reports. The incident involved the USS Gravely and the Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry on 17 June, the Russian defence ministry said.
“The USS Gravely came dangerously close to a Russian warship, 60 to 70 metres from the left side, and crossed the path of frigate Yaroslav Mudry at the dangerous distance of 180 metres from the bow,” it said in a statement.
The ministry protested at what it said was a flagrant violation by US sailors of rules to avoid collisions at sea. “The US sailors, in particular, neglected Rule 13, which stipulates that an overtaking vessel must keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken,” it said.
The ministry added that the US ship had also violated Rule 15, which says that a vessel that has another ship on the starboard side must yield the pathway.
The Pentagon should take note of such incidents rather than accuse the Russian Air Force and Navy of unprofessional conduct, the Russian defence ministry continued.
“US sailors allow themselves to neglect key foundations of navigation safety without thinking of the consequences that dangerous manoeuvring in a heavily trafficked maritime area might involve,” the statement read.
American officials have repeatedly complained about Russian military planes and vessels buzzing and sailing too close to their jets and vessels. The USS Gravely is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer able of carry an Aegis missile defence system.
She was commissioned in 2010 and sent to her first overseas deployment in the Mediterranean three years later. Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian-made Neustrashimy-class frigate, was spotted near Malta earlier in June.
She was reportedly heading to the eastern part of the Mediterranean to join Russia’s maritime task force off Syrian shores. The US has not commented on the incident.