US Destroyer Damaged by Japanese Tug Boat in Pacific

A U.S. guided missile destroyer sustained minimal damage Saturday when a Japanese tug boat lost propulsion and drifted into it during a towing exercise in Sagami Bay off central Japan in the Pacific Ocean.

The Navy said in a statement the USS Benfold sustained had scrapes on its side, though no one was injured on either vessel.

“Benfold remains at sea under her own power. The Japanese commercial tug is being towed by another vessel to a port in Yokosuka. The incident will be investigated,” read the statement from the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

The commercial tug boat was being towed to a port in Yokosuka, the home of the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet, which has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year in which Navy warships and commercial ships collided at sea.

Seventeen sailors were killed this year in the two collisions with commercial vessels involving guided-missile destroyers, the USS Fitzgerald in June off Japan, and the USS John S. McCain in August as it approached Singapore.

The incidents prompted dismissals of Navy commanders, and the U.S. Navy announced a series of reforms this month aimed at restoring basic naval skills and alertness at sea after a review of deadly ship collisions in the Asia-Pacific region showed sailors were under-trained and over-worked.



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