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US Navy ends search for missing sailor

06 August, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Stetham

China is helping the United States navy to search for an American marine who may have gone overboard in the South China Sea - a rare instance of cooperation in the disputed waters. "I appreciate greatly the dedication and professionalism shown by all who participated in the search efforts".

United States naval forces have suspended their search for an American sailor who went missing during a joint drill in the South China Sea with Japan.

Hopkins, a Texas native who received his commission at the Citadel in May 2009 and reported to Stethem in July 2017, was reported missing and assumed overboard August 1 at about 9 a.m.

At the apparent time the sailor went missing, the Stethem was conducting operations about 140 miles (225 km) west of Subic Bay in the Philippines, the statement added.

On Thursday, China said it helped the U.S. search for the sailor, a rare cooperative gesture in the disputed waters.

"After an extensive search, with help from the JMSDF and PLA (N), we were unable to locate our Sailor", Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, said in a Navy news release. An investigation is underway.




The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) transits waters east of the Korean peninsula during Operation Foal Eagle.

Approximately 10,000 square nautical miles of ocean was searched in 79 hours, the statement said.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, a stance contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The South China Sea area is a disputed region claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam, as it is believed that it has vast energy resources.

The move drew a sharp rebuke from the Chinese, who called the operation "provocative" and said such actions "violate China's sovereignty and threaten China's security".

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