New Delhi, November 18
Ahead of the second 2+2 dialogue between India and Australia here on Monday, Australian naval frogmen escaped with minor injuries due to “unsafe” action by a Chinese destroyer near the coast of Japan.
Divers sustain injuries
- The Australian Government has revealed that on November 14, its warship Toowoomba was in “international waters inside of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone en route to commence a scheduled port visit”
- A PLA-N destroyer approached Toowoomba and began operating a hull-mounted sonar, risking the safety of the Australian divers. They sustained minor injuries
This has forced the Australian Government, which has been trying to mend fences with Beijing, to express serious concerns to the Chinese Government. The incident took place a week after Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Beijing with his Foreign Minister Penny Wong to a red-carpet welcome.
The Australian Government revealed on Saturday that on November 14, its warship Toowoomba was in “international waters inside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone en route to commence a scheduled port visit”.
The ship had been in the region conducting operations in support of UN sanctions enforcement and had stopped to conduct diving operations in order to clear fishing nets that had become entangled around its propellers.
While diving operations were underway, a PLA-N destroyer (DDG-139) operating in the vicinity closed towards Toowoomba, which advised the Chinese ship to keep clear as diving operations were being conducted. Despite acknowledging the communications, the Chinese vessel approached at a closer range and began operating a hull-mounted sonar in a manner that posed a risk to the safety of the Australian divers who were forced to exit the water.
“Medical assessments conducted after the divers exited the water identified they had sustained minor injuries likely due to being subjected to the sonar pulses from the Chinese destroyer,” said an Australian Government statement.
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