Following protests by the U.S. government, China has returned an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) it seized Dec. 15 in the South China Sea. The oceanographic survey ship Bowditch had deployed the UUV to collect information about ocean salinity, water temperature and sound speed during a “routine” mission about 50 nautical miles north of Subic Bay, Philippines, the Pentagon said in a Dec. 16 statement. A Chinese navy ship launched a small craft and retrieved the UUV “illegally,” according to the Pentagon. Requests from Bowditch to return the UUV initially went unheeded. Two days later, China agreed to return the UUV.