Yesterday, a U.S. surveillance ship (USNS Impeccable) was engaged in legal operations in international waters close to China. At some point in the journey, five Chinese naval vessels began maneuvering aggressively towards the ship. The Chinese vessels close to within 50 ft. of the ship with no communication of their intentions.
The Impeccable is part of Military Sealift Command's (MSC) Special Mission Ships Program. There are 5 oceanic surveillance ships in this command. The ship is staffed by 25 civilain mariners and 25 military personnel. The ship possesses no armaments and the crew are unarmed.
Which explains why, when the Chinese ships got within fifty feet, the Impeccable's crew employed the only weapons they had: the fire hoses. We may never know for sure if the Chinese would've employed their secret weapon if the fire hoses had not been deployed. But, as it stands, the water hoses prompted the Chinese crew to run across the deck and strip down to their underwear and make explicit gestures at the U.S. personnel shooting the water.
We can now write another page in our understanding of Chinese Naval Doctrine. "If fire hoses must be used, expect massive retaliation in the form of naked Chinese sailors."
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