U.S. sub collides with Japan ship
January 8, 2007TOKYO, Japan (AP) --
A U.S. nuclear submarine and Japanese oil tanker collided Monday night in the Arabian Sea, but there were no injuries or serious damages, the U.S. Navy and Japanese government said.
The bow of the fast-attack USS Newport News hit the stern of the tanker Mogamikawa near the "Straits of Hormuz" causing minor damage to the Japanese vessel, Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a release Tuesday.
The tanker, operated by Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Ltd., was able to continue to a nearby port in the United Arab Emirates, the statement said. Russia's Itar-Tass news agency described the ship as a supertanker.
CommanderKevin Aandahl of the 5th Fleet in Bahrain said there were no injuries in the accident.
"I can confirm that an incident took place between one of our submarines and a merchant ship," he said. The Newport News has a crew of 127.
U.S. and allied navy vessels have been conducting anti-terror missions and operations against weapons and drug smuggling in the Arabian Gulf and other Mideast waters in recent years.
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is in the nearby Persian Gulf. It left the United States in late September with four other Norfolk-based ships and submarines carrying 6,500 sailors.
The flotilla headed to the Mediterranean Sea and eventually went to relieve the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Enterprise strike group, which was in the region supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Magamikawa was traveling from the Persian Gulf to Singapore and was carrying a crew of eight Japanese and 16 Filipinos, Kyodo said. Officials from the shipping company were not immediately available for comment.
The Japanese government said it was informed soon after by the Navy and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. The Japanese government has asked the U.S. side to investigate the cause of the incident.
There have been other collisions between U.S. naval vessels and commercial ships in the busy shipping lanes around the Persian Gulf. In September 2005, a U.S. nuclear submarine collided with a Turkish cargo ship in the Gulf. In July 2004, the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy collided with a dhow in the Gulf, leaving no survivors on the traditional Arab sailing boat.
In February 2001, a U.S. Navy submarine rammed into a Japanese fishing vessel in waters off Hawaii killing nine people. The American captain's delay in apologizing for the crash triggered protests by the victims' families.