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The Chinese torpedo reeled in by a Vietnamese fisherman this week was a training torpedo lost during a naval exercise earlier this month, the Ministry of National Defense said on Friday.
On Tuesday, local fisherman Tran Minh Thanh spotted the object about 6.5 kilometers off the coast of Phu Yen, a province in south central Vietnam. Tran towed the torpedo to a beach in Tuy An District and turned it in to authorities, local news reported.
China"s Defense Ministry said in an online statement on Friday that the torpedo was lost during an exercise by the People"s Liberation Army Navy near the eastern waters of Hainan island early this month, and it was probably carried by currents to Vietnamese waters.
"The torpedo is a regular training dummy," it said.
The cigar-shaped metal object measures 6.8 meters long and around 54 centimeters in diameter, with propellers at its tail and Chinese characters written on its body, according to Vietnamese media reports.
A military expert, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the training torpedo is used to simulate real launch scenarios and has all the key components of a functional torpedo except for the live warhead.
"It does not carry explosives, so there"s no threat of detonation," he said.