WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Pentagon says a Chinese warship seized a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider that was collecting unclassified scientific data in the South China Sea.

The New York Times reports the USS Bowditch, an U.S. Navy oceanographic ship, discovered the glider had gone missing when the vessel went to retrieve it.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says the U.S. has issued a formal diplomatic complaint and is asking for the drone’s return.

Davis says a civilian U.S. Navy ship operated by the military’s Sealift Command was recovering two of the unmanned gliders about 50 miles northwest of Subic Bay near the Philippines when the Chinese ship approached and took one of the small vessels. He says the Chinese ship acknowledged radio messages from the U.S. ship, but did not respond to demands the glider be returned.

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