25 January 2017
Growing tensions in disputed waters and enforcement operations by maritime security agencies against various threats have resulted in warships and other vessels exchanging warning shots. The uncertainty posed by such actions can lead to conflict. The use of warnings at sea is increasingly critical.
In the past few years there have been several incidents when warning shots were used at sea. In December 2015 a Russian warship fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing boat to “prevent a collision”. This action was carried out a month after a Turkish F-16 interceptor shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber for violating its airspace. In the same month, a South Korean naval vessel fired warning shots at a Chinese patrol boat thinking that it was a North Korean vessel near to the Yellow Sea Northern Limit Line.
In June 2016 the Indonesian Navy fired warning shots at a Chinese fishing boat operating within Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone. Purportedly a Chinese fisherman from a nearby boat was injured as a result of the action. More recently, a US destroyer fired warning shots at a group of four Iranian Revolutionary Coast Guard Corps Navy fast patrol boats that did not heed non-kinetic warnings and continued closing–in on the destroyer at high speed in the Strait of Hormuz.
… Bernard Miranda is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Maritime Security Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He was the Commander Task Group for three missions to the North Arabian Gulf in support of the reconstruction of Iraq; Mission Commander of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s first deployment to the anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden; and RSN’s first Commander CTF 151, the combined force dealing with Somalia piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 27/01/2017