Panama Gulf Incident
The Panama Gulf Incident was a diplomatic incident which occurred in the Panama Gulf after a Japanese boat was seized and searched. This led to a diplomatic firestorm between Japan and the U.S., and eventually all diplomatic relations were ended with each other, and soon the United States received a declaration of war from Japan. This would lead to the Great Pacific War which would ravage the Pacific and the Western Coast of the United States.
The Panama Blockade
The Panama Blockade was a combined U.S.-Brazil effort to force the USAS to cease its invasion of Venezuela and to prevent many goods from reaching the USAS. However, smuggling became very common, and hundreds of blockade runners were seized, carrying ammuntion, guns, and other supplies. However no nation had yet supported the USAS or had attempted to lift the blockade.
Search and Seizure of the IJS Saba
At approximately 4:30 a.m. the Japanese Ship Saba was sighted two hundred miles off the coast of Panama. The cruiser USS Hilo was dispatched to warn the ship of the storm which had hit the Panama coast as the rough waves and winds could surely destroy the small merchant vessel. However when the U.S. Captain haile the boat, it did not respond, and continued moving towards the coast. The USS Hilo then moved to intercept the boat and repeatedly hailed it and warned it to stay away. However the Saba continued to flee from the Hilo, and its smaller size allowed it to maneuver through the waves easier. Finally, the captain of the Hilo gave the order and torpedoed the small boat, which struck in the aft section and destroyed the engine. The Hilo then boarded the boat and searched its cargo, finding thousands of rifles, grenades, ammuntion, and other explosives. The Saba's captain and crew was put under arrest for attempting to give weapons to the "communist revolutionaries" and the cargo was seized. When Japan demanded the return of the Saba and her crew the United States refused, stating that they had attempted to break the blockade. This led to the break of diplomatic relations and eventual war.
The diplomatic split caused by the incident was intense as the Japanese competely denied the fact that the Saba was carrying munitions and insisted it was carrying grain and rice to trade with Colombia. The United States however would not stand down from their point that Japan had attempted to smuggle weapons into the USAS, and tensions increased greatly after Japanese made weapons were discovered on a battlefield in Venezuela. The incident eventually led to the Great Pacific War.