Two US warships steam to the rescue of a drilling ship being harassed by Chinese Navy in disputed sea after Washington accuses Beijing of ‘bullying’

  • The Navy said it deployed USS Montgomery and USNS Cesar Chavez
  • Ships were sent to patrol hotly disputed area in South China Sea
  • China’s claims to maritime sovereignty over area disputed by Malaysia, others
  • Malaysia has been exploring for oil in area while Chinese ships patrol nearby
  • This is second time in last month that US Navy has deployed vessels to region
  • Americans accused Beijing of ‘bullying’ neighbors who also lay claim to area

The United States Navy has deployed two patrol ships to the disputed South China Sea where China and Malaysia have competing claims over a maritime region known to have valuable resources.

American officials said on Friday that the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery and the replenishment ship USNS Cesar Chavez were sent to conduct a ‘presence operation’ in the South China Sea near a Panamanian-flagged drill ship West Capella.

The move sends a strong message to Chinese ships, which have reportedly spent weeks harassing the commercial vessel.

The drill ship is under contract to conduct surveying operations in an area of the South China Sea where Malaysia lays claims to maritime sovereignty.

The West Capella has been contracted to drill for oil reserves by the Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas.