New Details of US Naval Ship Encounters With Drones in 2019 Unveiled
In one instance, the US Navy believed that a commercial cargo ship operated by a Hong Kong-based company was likely using drones to conduct surveillance of US naval ships.
A trove of documents provided by the US Navy has shed new light on a series of “drone swarm events” that took place off the coast of southern California back in 2019, The War Zone online magazine reports.
The incidents in question occurred between 30 March and 30 July that year, and involved several US naval vessels encountering flying objects.
According to the media outlet, which obtained the documents through the Freedom of Information Act, the papers leave little doubt that the swarm incidents were caused by drones, as top US defence officials told Congress back in 2019.
The documents, among other things, show that during the 15 July event, Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier MV Bass Strait was present in the vicinity, with the US Navy assessment stating that the ship was likely conducting surveillance on US naval vessels using drones.
The documents also indicate, however, that the unmanned aerial system (UAS) incidents continued after Bass Strait had left the area.
The media outlet also notes that the operator of MV Bass Strait, a Hong Kong-based shipping service called Pacific Basin, did not reply to their requests for comment.
Some of the drone incidents were apparently attributed to local fishermen operating personal quadcopters, while others were deemed to be data “collection operations”.