The Black Sea bumping incident of 12 February 1988 occurred when American cruiser USS Yorktown tried to exercise the right of innocent passage through Soviet territorial waters in the Black Sea during the Cold War. The cruiser was bumped by the Soviet frigate Bezzavetny with the intention of pushing Yorktown into international waters. This incident also involved the destroyer USS Caron, sailing in company with USS Yorktown and claiming the right of innocent passage, which was intentionally shouldered by a Soviet Mirka-classfrigate SKR-6. Yorktown reported minor damage to its hull, with no holing or risk of flooding. Caron was not damaged.
A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.
USS Yorktown (DDG-48/CG-48) is a decommissioned Ticonderoga-class cruiser in the United States Navy from 1984 to 2004, named for the American Revolutionary War Battle of Yorktown.
Innocent passage is a concept in the law of the sea that allows for a vessel to pass through the territorial waters of another state, subject to certain restrictions. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Article 19 defines innocent passage as:
1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law.
2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:
(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;
(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;
(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;
(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;
(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;
(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;
(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;
(h) any act of wilful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;
(i) any fishing activities;
(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;
(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or installations of the coastal State;
(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage.
At the time, the Soviet Union recognized the right of innocent passage for warships in its territorial waters solely in designated sea lanes.The United States believed that there was no legal basis for a coastal nation to limit warship transits to sea lanes only. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of State found that the Russian-language text of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Article 22, paragraph 1 allowed the coastal state to regulate the right of innocent passage whenever necessary, while the English-language text did not. Following the incident, the Soviet Union expressed a commitment to resolve the issue of innocent passage in Soviet territorial waters.
A sea lane, sea road or shipping lane is a regularly used route for vessels on oceans and large lakes. In the Age of Sail they were not only determined by the distribution of land masses but also the prevailing winds, whose discovery was crucial for the success of long voyages. Sea lanes are very important for trade by sea.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which took place between 1973 and 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced the quad-treaty 1958 Convention on the High Seas. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention. It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
In 1979, the United States launched an informal program to promote the "rights and freedoms of navigation and overflight guaranteed to all nations under international law."The US government said that it initiated the program because some countries were beginning to assert jurisdictional boundaries beyond traditional claims. The United States wished to stop this and, it said, diplomatic protests had seemed to be ineffective. A new customary international law could emerge if nations avoided operating their ships and aircraft in the disputed areas, and the US saw this as undesirable.
Freedom of navigation (FON) is a principle of customary international law that ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states, apart from the exceptions provided for in international law. In the realm of international law, it has been defined as “freedom of movement for vessels, freedom to enter ports and to make use of plant and docks, to load and unload goods and to transport goods and passengers” This right is now also codified as Article 87(1)a of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Not all UN member states have ratified the convention; notably, the United States has signed, but not ratified the convention. However, the § United States enforces the practice; see below.
International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework for states to follow across a broad range of domains, including war, diplomacy, trade, and human rights. International law thus provides a mean for states to practice more stable, consistent, and organized international relations.
Customary international law is an aspect of international law involving the principle of custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of international law.
In the 1980s, US warships were passing through the straits from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea two or three times a year to "show the flag" and to claim the right of innocent passage in the coastal states.Aside from the right of free passage, US naval activity in the Black Sea served the purpose of upholding US rights under the 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits. According to a US government official, "the Dardanelles and the Bosporus form an international waterway" under that convention and "if you don't periodically reaffirm your rights you find that they're hard to revive."
The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits is a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Turkish Straits and regulates the transit of naval warships. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Turkish Straits and guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in peacetime. It restricts the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states. The terms of the convention have been the source of controversy over the years, most notably about the Soviet Union's military access to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Dardanelles, also known from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (; Classical Greek: Ἑλλήσποντος, romanized: Hellespontos, lit. 'Sea of Helle'), is a narrow, natural strait and internationally significant waterway in northwestern Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey. One of the world's narrowest straits used for international navigation, the Dardanelles connects the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, while also allowing passage to the Black Sea by extension via the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles is 61 kilometres (38 mi) long, and 1.2 to 6 kilometres wide, averaging 55 metres (180 ft) deep with a maximum depth of 103 metres (338 ft) at its narrowest point abreast the city of Çanakkale.
The Bosporus or Bosphorus is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. It forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace. The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and, by extension via the Dardanelles, the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
Meanwhile, "The Rules of Navigation and Sojourn of Foreign Warships in the Territorial Waters and Internal Waters and Ports of the USSR," enacted by the Soviet Council of Ministers in 1983, acknowledged the right of innocent passage of foreign warships only in restricted areas of Soviet territorial waters in the Baltic, Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan;no sea lanes for innocent passage in the Black Sea were designated. Soviet vessels and aircraft were routinely dispatched to observe US warships there. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union viewed the US presence in the Black Sea as an attempt to undermine improving Soviet–American relations.
The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaido to the south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and north. The northeast corner is the Shelikhov Gulf. The sea is named after Okhotsk, the first Russian settlement in the Far East.
The Sea of Japan is the marginal sea between the Japanese archipelago, Sakhalin, the Korean Peninsula and Russia. The Japanese archipelago separates the sea from the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Japan, Korea and Russia. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific Ocean. This isolation also reflects in the fauna species and in the water salinity, which is lower than in the ocean. The sea has no large islands, bays or capes. Its water balance is mostly determined by the inflow and outflow through the straits connecting it to the neighboring seas and Pacific Ocean. Few rivers discharge into the sea and their total contribution to the water exchange is within 1%.
After the 1986 incident in the Black Sea, also involving USS Yorktown and USS Caron, a meeting of the Soviet Defence Council was held later in the same year.At the meeting, the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy Vladimir Chernavin suggested to Mikhail Gorbachev, Defense Minister Sergey Sokolov, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, and other senior officials that intruding foreign warships could be driven from Soviet waters by several means, including bumping.
In the 1986 Black Sea incident on 13 March the American cruiser USS Yorktown and the destroyer USS Caron, claiming the right of innocent passage, entered the Soviet territorial waters near the southern Crimean Peninsula. The warships passed within six miles of the Soviet coast, where they were soon confronted by the Soviet frigate Ladny. The commander of Ladny notified the U.S. warships that they had violated Soviet territorial waters and requested that they depart immediately. The U.S. warships confirmed receipt of the warning but did not change course. The Soviet command placed its Black Sea air and naval forces on combat readiness and dispatched border guard vessels and naval aircraft to intercept the U.S. warships.
Fleet Admiral Vladimir Nikolayevich Chernavin was the last Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy from 1985 to 1991 and the only Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Independent States Navy from 1991 to 1992.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian and formerly Soviet politician. The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of its governing Communist Party from 1985 until 1991. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy.
On 12 February 1988, the Ticonderoga-classcruiser USS Yorktown, and the Spruance-classdestroyer USS Caron, conducted an innocent passage exercise in the Black Sea. Caron passed 7.5 mi (12.1 km) off the Soviet shore, and Yorktown drew to 10.3 mi (16.6 km) offshore. The commander of the Black Sea Fleet Mikhail Khronopulo received an order from Chernavin to curb the passage of US warships. Initially the destroyer Krasnyy Kavkaz was tasked with confronting them, but she experienced technical problems so Bezzavetnyy, a Krivak-classfrigate, was dispatched instead. However, according to Bezzavetny's commander, Captain Vladimir Bogdashin, his ship had two cruise missiles instead of four, was half the size of Yorktown, and was only a third its size by displacement. The Soviet frigate SKR-6, commanded by Captain Anatoliy Petrov, was approximately one quarter the size of USS Caron.
First, Caron was approached by the frigate SKR-6, and three minutes later, Yorktown was approached by the frigate Bezzavetnyy, 10.5 nautical mile s (19.4 km; 12.1 mi) from the coast, SKR-6 bumped the port side aft of Caron at frame about 60 feet (18 m) from the bow. Caron received superficial scraping of paint, with no personnel injuries. Bezzavetnyy, having bumped Yorktown, was ordered[ by whom? ] to move away and not to contact her again.while Tupolev Tu-16 bombers monitored the vessels' movements. As the US warships clipped a corner of the Soviet territorial waters, they were bumped. At 10:02 a.m, local time, ,
Both US warships stayed on even course after the incident. Caron left Soviet territorial waters at 11:50 a.m. local time without further incident.
Both US warships reported the incident to the commander in chief of United States naval forces in Europe. Caron reported that, at 13:20 local time, it was informed on channel 16 VHF by Bezzavetnyy: "Soviet ships have orders to prevent violation of territorial waters, extreme measure is to strike your ship with one of ours."The reply of Caron was "I am engaged in innocent passage consistent with international law." Yorktown, in its report stated that on 9:56, local time, it was contacted by Bezzavetnyy via channel 16 and told to leave Soviet territorial waters or "our ship is going to strike on yours." Then, according to the report, Bezzavetnyy came alongside port side of Yorktown at 10:03 and bumped it by turning into the ship.
The starboard anchor of Bezzavetnyy was torn away. 's bullnose passed down port quarter. Bezzavetnyy then cleared to port and took station 300 yd (270 m) off the port beam of Yorktown. Bezzavetnyy required a minor repair.Two Harpoon missile canisters on Yorktown sustained damage when Bezzavetnyy
The Soviet Ministry of Defense issued a statement blaming the U.S. warships for ignoring the "warning signals of Soviet border guard ships" and for "dangerously maneuvering in Soviet waters".The incident also drew a diplomatic protest from the U.S. government.
These incidents were covered in the annual review of compliance with the US/Soviet Agreement On the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas signed on 25 May 1972.[ citation needed ]
The Strait of Hormuz is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world's most strategically important choke points. On the north coast lies Iran, and on the south coast the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman. The strait is about 90 nautical miles (167 km) long, with a width varying from about 52 nautical miles (96 km) to 21 nautical miles (39 km).
USS Caron (DD-970) was a Spruance-class destroyer, named for Hospital Corpsman Third Class Wayne M. Caron (1946–1968), who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG-34), the twenty-sixth ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided-missile frigates, was named for Vice-Admiral Aubrey Fitch (1883–1978), who was noted for his outstanding command work in the South Pacific during World War II.
In warfare, ramming is a technique used in air, sea, and land combat. The term originated from battering ram, a siege weapon used to bring down fortifications by hitting it with the force of the ram's momentum, and ultimately from male sheep. Thus, in warfare, ramming refers to hitting a target by running oneself into the target.
The Koni class is the NATO reporting name for an anti-submarine warfare frigate built by the Soviet Union. They were known in the Soviet Union as Project 1159. 14 were built in Zelenodolsk shipyard between 1975 and 1988. They were originally intended to replace the older Riga-class frigates, but were instead chosen as a design for export to various friendly navies. The Koni I sub class were designed for European waters and the Koni II were made for warmer waters. One ship was retained by the Soviets in the Black Sea for training foreign crews. Only a few of these vessels remain in service today.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a nation's internal waters include waters on the side of the baseline of a nation's territorial waters that is facing toward the land, except in archipelagic states. It includes waterways such as rivers and canals, and sometimes the water within small bays.
The Mirka class was the NATO reporting name for a class of light frigates built for the Soviet Navy in the mid to late 1960s. The Soviet designation was Storozhevoi Korabl Project 35 and Project 35-M.
In the Action in the Gulf of Sidra, the United States Navy deployed aircraft carrier groups in the disputed Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean Sea. Libya claimed that the entire Gulf was their territory, at 32° 30' N, with an exclusive 62 nautical miles fishing zone. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi asserted this in 1973, and dubbed it "The Line of Death". The United States claimed its rights to conduct naval operations in international waters, a standard of 12-nautical-mile territorial limit from a country's shore.
The 2007–2008 U.S.–Iranian naval dispute refers to a series of naval stand-offs between Iranian speedboats and U.S. Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz in December 2007 and January 2008.
USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23) is an Impeccable-class ocean surveillance ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 2001 and assigned to Military Sealift Command's Special Missions Program.
Transit passage is a concept of the Law of the Sea, which allows a vessel or aircraft the freedom of navigation or overflight solely for the purpose of continuous and expeditious transit of a strait between one part of the high seas or exclusive economic zone and another. The requirement of continuous and expeditious transit does not preclude passage through the strait for the purpose of entering, leaving or returning from a state bordering the strait, subject to the conditions of entry to that state.
The Ukrainian frigate Dnipropetrovsk was a former Soviet frigate Bezzavetnyy of the Burevestnik-class ship built for the Soviet Navy in the late 1970s.
The following lists events that happened during 1986 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Otaman Bilyi (U132) was a Petya-class frigate of the Ukrainian Navy and formerly the Soviet frigate SKR-112. After the declaration of independence of Ukraine, it became the first warship that raised the Ukrainian flag and on July 21, 1992 made an unsanctioned move to Odessa. The initiator of the move was a frigate captain Zhybariov.
The following lists events that happened during 1988 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Mikhail Nikolayevich Khronopulo was a Soviet Navy admiral, the penultimate commander of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet.