Russian sailors were seen sunbathing on the deck of their warship as the vessel came perilously close to colliding with an American missile cruiser in the East China Sea on Friday.
The bewildering photos show several men sitting in deck chairs with their shirts off, with at least one man appearing to be completely naked. Another could be seen wearing shorts while relaxing on the helicopter pad of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov.
The bizarre scene was caught on video as the Russian ship passed within feet of the American warship.
Videos of what the US Navy described as an ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ encounter appear to show Russian sailors sunbathing on the helicopter pad of the Russian destroyer
A pictured captured of the incident showed the Russian and US vessels coming within touching distance
They photos were taken from footage captured by a sailor travelling on the American vessel, the USS Chancellorsville which the Russian ship was passing alongside.
The video showed the Russian ship up-close, however upon spotting the trio of Russian sailors lounging close to their helicopter pad towards the aft section of the boat, the person behind the camera appears to do a double-take and pans the camera back to the unusual scene.
Russia and the United States are now blaming each other for the near collision with both countries accusing the other of dangerous and unprofessional behavior, however it was only on the Russian ship that the sailors were seen half-dressed and in their shorts.
Eagle-eyed observers noted something peculiar in the videos released by the Navy — what appears to be Russian sailors sunbathing shirtless, if not naked, on the helicopter pad
In an odd sight, several Russian service members seemed to be sunbathing on an aft platform aboard the destroyer as it neared the American warship
The pictures show a number of men to be enjoying the ocean views on what appears to be the helicopter pad.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet said that the USS Chancellorsville came within 165 feet of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov which was ‘forced to take emergency action to avoid a collision.’
They cited a Russian Pacific Fleet statement as saying the incident took place in the early hours of Friday morning in the eastern part of the East China Sea at a time when a group of Russian warships was on a parallel course with a U.S. naval strike group.
‘The U.S guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov coming within 50 meters of the ship,’ the statement said.
‘A protest over the international radio frequency was made to the commanders of the American ship who were warned about the unacceptable nature of such actions,’ it said.
That version of events was rejected by the U.S. Navy, which said the behavior of the Russian ship had been ‘unsafe and unprofessional’.
‘While operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer…made an unsafe manoeuvre against USS Chancellorsville,’ U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Commander Clayton Doss said.
‘This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.’
While Department of Defense and Navy officials noted Russia’s behavior, none were willing to speculate on the record about what exactly the Russians were doing or why.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet said that the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, had come within just 130ft of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov in the east of the East China Sea (illustrated in a map above)
A video released by the US Navy also showed the two ships coming worryingly close together
The Russian ship is clearly identifiable in the video posted by the US Navy on Twitter
The US Navy’s USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) guided missile destroyer was one of the ships involved
He described a Russian assertion that the U.S. ship had acted dangerously as ‘propaganda’. The Russian destroyer came within 50 to 100 feet of the Chancellorsville, he said, putting the safety of her crew and the ship at risk.
The incident comes days after Washington and Moscow sparred over an allegedly unsafe spy plane intercept by a Russian fighter jet near Syria.
A US Navy statement read: ‘At approximately 11:45 am on June 7, 2019 while operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian destroyer (Udaloy I DD 572) made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), closing to ~50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.
‘While Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsvilleaccelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of ~50-100 feet.
‘This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.
‘We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), ‘Rules of the Road,’ and internationally recognized maritime customs.’
Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov. Both nations accused each other over the near-miss