Vietnamese fishermen lately could have gotten a giant shock: an 11,000-ton submarine surfacing amongst their boats. The incident reportedly occurred in September however has solely lately come to gentle through social media. The Chinese Navy Jin Class ballistic missile submarine was mentioned to have been working close to the Paracel Islands. The islands, referred to as Xisha in Chinese, are in a strategic location within the South China Sea. They are managed by China but additionally claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
The Jin Class is the most recent missile submarine within the Chinese arsenal. Six have been constructed and are already the spine of China’s at-sea nuclear deterrent. The submarines are primarily based close to Sanya on the island of Hainan, about 190 miles northwest of the Paracel Islands.
Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines can function submerged for months at a time and keep hidden beneath the waves all through their patrol. Surfacing subsequent to a different nation’s vessel is uncommon and means that one thing has gone improper. Something critical sufficient to warrant sacrificing its principal asset: stealth. This shouldn’t be the kind of submarine you’ll count on for use to ship a message.
Submarines and fishing vessels don’t combine nicely. In 1984 a Soviet submarine turned entangled within the nets of a Norwegian fishing trawler. After hours of attempting to free itself the submarine needed to floor, exposing its mission off the NATO nation. The penalties will be far worse. In 1990 a British submarine drove by means of the nets of a small fishing boat off Scotland. All 4 crew died when their boat was dragged below.
So presumably the submarine had change into entangled in a fishing web, or feared that it could be. Surfacing could have saved the lives of the fishermen, or the submariners. Ironically, the dangers related to fishing nets could also be a think about Chinese missile submarines patrolling the South China Sea as a substitute of the extra congested East China Sea and Yellow Sea.
Full particulars have but to emerge. It is nonetheless a well timed reminder of the strategic significance of the South China Sea.