A shipwreck is a terrible event that can cause large-scale damage, whether between cars, planes or at sea between boats. Add to that the idea of heavily armed and armored warships designed to take and deliver solid blows, and the risk of havoc in a collision is multiplied.
This kind of havoc could have been the result of a collision between a Russian destroyer and a US guided missile cruiser in 2019. Although the maneuver between the two ships was incredibly dangerous, no one was injured in the act. .
Exactly how the two ships approached so close to impact is disputed. On June 7, 2019, the USS Chancellorsville claimed it was sailing in the Philippine Sea when it was approached by the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov. The US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser was maintaining its course and speed when it said the Russian had come up from behind and headed towards the American.
According to the Russians, the event did not take place in the Philippine Sea, but rather took place in the East China Sea. In a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian Navy said the USS Chancellorsville “suddenly changed course and crossed paths with the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov about 50 meters from the ship.”
The Russians claim that their destroyer was forced to perform an emergency maneuver to avoid a collision with the American ship. The US Navy claimed the USS Chancellorsville was conducting air operations at the time of the incident, which would give the cruiser absolute right of way under all circumstances.
U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet Spokesman Cmdr. Clayton Doss said Admiral Vinogradov came within 50 to 100 yards of the Chancellorsville and the dangerous maneuver put the crew in danger.
In support of the US claim, retired naval officers say photos of the incident show Admiral Vinogradov’s wake reveals that the Russians are to blame – they failed to comply with the grip of the USS Chancellorsville during flight operations.
It is likely that the dangerous maneuver was a deliberate act of aggression towards the American vessel. At the time, Russian military assets were used to confuse risky efforts elsewhere in the world.
Russian planes bypassed NORAD air defenses, buzzed US Navy ships in multiple areas and made a number of other aggressive moves. These are tactics the Russian military has used to grab headlines and wreak havoc on American forces since the Cold War.
While the tactic may seem like a harmless assault from a geopolitical rival, and since no one was hurt in the incident(s), it may be something to overlook, but mistakes were made. Some of these errors have caused real harm.
Russian military vehicles rammed US armored vehicles in Syria. Russian military contractors have also engaged in firefights there with US forces. Russian military accidents also happen all the time, so often that they hardly make international news anymore.
An accident with the USS Chancellorsville could have caused a lot of damage to the ships and their crews – and possibly even sparked a conflict.