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Navy Ships in Bumping Incident Leave Black Sea

February 16, 1988 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two U.S. Navy warships have left the Black Sea after an incident last week in which they were deliberately bumped by Soviet ships off the coast of Crimea, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The cruiser Yorktown and the destroyer Caron steamed uneventfully through the Turkish Straits and back into the Mediterranean Sea on Monday, the Pentagon said.

Spokesman Dan Howard declined to say where the two ships were now bound.

The Yorktown and Caron entered the Black Sea on Feb. 10 under orders to assert international navigation rights. As a result, last Friday the two ships moved inside the 12-mile limit claimed by the Soviet Union while steaming past the Crimea Peninsula.

In response, two Soviet warships deliberately bump the sides of the Yorktown and Caron, causing minor damage and prompting the United States to file a protest with Moscow.

Unlike the Soviet Union, the United States claims a three-mile territorial limit. The United States accepts other nations’ claims of a 12-mile limit, but it insists that foreign nations honor what is known as the right of ″innocent passage″ for ships passing through waters between three and 12 miles offshore.