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Pacific Naval Leaders Agree to Adopt Sea Guidelines

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 – Nearly two dozen Asia-Pacific nations agreed to sea guidelines adopted by naval leaders at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium yesterday in China, Defense Department spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren said here today.

“The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea -- we call them CUES -- offers guidelines for maritime encounters at sea,” he said. “It offers safety procedures, basic [communications] plans and basic maneuvering instructions for naval ships and naval aircraft during unplanned encounters at sea.”

Warren said DOD supports a shared understanding of procedures during encounters, which he said can reduce the potential of an unintended incident at sea.

“We fully support efforts to standardize maritime conduct and improve operational safety at sea,” he said. “These guidelines provide steps to potentially avoid encounters such at the [USS] Cowpens incident last year. These initiatives have been in development since 1999, and they were developed multilaterally.”

In December, the USS Cowpens, a guided-missile ship, took evasive action to avoid colliding with Chinese navy ship Liaoning in the South China Sea.

“This is a great step towards improving operational safety at sea,” Warren said. “It’s a positive development that should help reduce the risk of misunderstandings between navy vessels and aircraft operating in a region.”

The guidelines demonstrate the effectiveness of dialogue, transparency and multilateral approaches to dealing with 21st-century challenges, he added.

(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)


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