‘Aggressive’ Russian naval ship nearly collided with US destroyer in Middle East, Pentagon says



The Pentagon accused the Russian navy on Friday of “aggressive” actions in the Arabian Sea after one of their ships very nearly collided with a US Navy destroyer.

The Russian ship ignored collision warning blasts from the USS Farragut and came extremely close before turning away, narrowly averting a crash, said the US Navy 5th Fleet, which released video footage of the incident.

“While the Russian ship took action, the initial delay in complying with international rules while it was making an aggressive approach increased the risk of collision,” the fleet said in a statement.

The video shows the Russian vessel rapidly approaching the stern of the 155 metre (510-foot) US warship.

It closed dangerously within tens of metres, ignoring five short blasts sounded by the Farragut, the international maritime signal for collision danger.

“The Russian ship initially refused but ultimately altered course and the two ships opened distance from one another,” the US statement said.

The Russian Defence Ministry denied the allegation, saying the Farragut had cut across the path of their ship.

“It was the US destroyer that blatantly violated international rules for preventing collisions at sea on 9 January 2020 by making a manoeuvre to cross the Russian ship’s course, while being positioned to the left of the forward-moving Russian military vessel,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Farragut was in the region as part of the strike group attached to the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, deployed late last year to the Middle East as tensions with Iran rose.

“The US Navy continues to remain vigilant and is trained to act in a professional manner,” they said.

“We continue to encourage vessels from all nations to operate in accordance with internationally recognised maritime laws, standards and norms.”