Reacting to the health threat posed by the coronavirus epidemic, the Pacific Fleet has ordered all ships attached to the 7th Fleet to remain at sea for a minimum of 14 days between port visits.
The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) Press quoted a Pacific Fleet source as saying that the restriction was put in place “to protect our ports and prevent any particular spread to our allies and partners and, obviously, protect our forces.”
The order applies to ships traveling among ports in the 7th Fleet area of operations, and does not affect ships that are departing and returning to the same port.
7th Fleet Lasing
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper raised concern recently with the Chinese Defense minister, Gen. Wei Fenghe, over an incident wherein DoD says a US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was targeted with a laser by PRC navy destroyer 161 while flying in airspace above international waters approximately 380 miles west of Guam.
According to DoD, the laser, which was not visible to the naked eye, was captured by a sensor onboard the P-8A. It noted that weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems.