The amphibious assault vessel USS Essex crashed with USNS Yukon oil tanker yesterday, while returning to San Diego, after completing 12 years as the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed amphibious assault ship in Sasebo, Japan, the Sacramento Bee reported.
As confirmed by a spokesman for the 3rd Fleet, Charlie Brown, the collision took place Wednesday morning, approximately 120 miles off the coast of Southern California when USS Essex was moving toward USNS Yukon for refueling.
Even though the velocity of the ship’s approaching has not been determined, the standard speed for ships lining up to refuel at sea is about 13 knots, which means that the inflicted damage of the ships is on a small scale.
Apparently, the vessels just bounced off each other, leaving fuel tanks and operating systems uncompromised. Furthermore, crew members of both vessels did not sustain injuries and having in mind the fact that the USS Essex, known as the Iron Gator, did not manage to start refueling there was no fuel spills either.
Even so, the impact was enough to inflict “a pretty hard bump that can bend metal and cause dents”, Brown added.
According to Brown, the cause of the accident was a malfunction on steering system aboard 844-foot-long Essex.
Even with the damages, both vessels were able to continue their journey to San Diego and adhere to their respective arrival schedules.
Naval Today Staff , May 17, 2012