Australia has accused the Chinese military of “unsafe and unprofessional” use of sonar pulses, which resulted in injuries to Australian divers working underwater, the BBC reports.
According to Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, the incident took place on Tuesday, November 14, in international waters off the coast of Japan.
A Chinese warship approached the Australian frigate HMAS Toowoomba as divers tried to clear fishing nets from its propeller blades. At that time, according to the minister, the Chinese military used sonar pulses, which threatened divers working in the depths of the water.
Richard Marle revealed that the divers were forced to stop work and swim up, but it was not possible to avoid injuries. According to him, although all the divers’ injuries are relatively minor, such behavior by the Chinese military is unacceptable.
“Australia expects the militaries of all countries, including China, to act professionally and take security requirements into account,” Richard Marle said.
The incident took place in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. According to Marls, “HMAS Toowoomba” was operating in these waters as part of the implementation of UN sanctions – the minister did not provide additional information.
The Australian Department of Defense said in a statement that the crew of the frigate “HMAS Toowoomba” reported diving operations through all relevant channels, so the Chinese warship could not have been unaware that divers were underwater.
China has not yet commented on the Australian Ministry of Defense statement.
The London-based Medical Advisory Board for Diving notes that the use of sonar pulses can cause “dizziness, hearing loss and other injuries” to divers and divers underwater.
A sonar, or sonar, is a device that can find and locate objects underwater using the sonar method – acoustic waves and ultrasound – by measuring the time it takes for the sound reflected from the object to return to the device.
In early November, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to China. The Australian Prime Minister’s trip was hailed by the press as evidence of “significant progress” in relations between the two countries.
However, significant tensions remain in Sino-Australian relations. As Canberra seeks dialogue with Beijing, it is also expanding military cooperation with Washington. In August, it became known that Australia plans to purchase more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States.