US nuclear sub and Japanese oil tanker collided

Publish date: January 9, 2007

Damage to the Norfolk-based submarine and a Japanese oil tanker was light. No serious injuries, oil leaks or radioactive discharges were reported.

The USS Newport News nuclear-powered submarine and a Japanese oil tanker collided near the busy shipping lanes of the Straits of Hormuz Monday night, the US Navy and Japanese government said early today. No one was seriously injured. Damage to the USS Newport News and the tanker was light, and there was no resulting spill of oil or leakage of nuclear fuel, officials from the U.S. Navy, the Japanese and the United Arab Emirates said.

The bow of the Newport News hit the stern of the oil tanker Mogamikawa as the vessels were passing just outside the Straits, causing minor damage to the Japanese vessel, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said. The tanker, operated by Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Ltd., was able to continue to a nearby port in the United Arab Emirates.

Commander Kevin Aandahl of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain confirmed that there had been a crash and that there were no injuries. Aandahl said the sub had surfaced and that its crew was evaluating damage. The Navy said the sub’s nuclear propulsion plant was undamaged.

The Newport News (SSN-750) of Los Angeles Class was launched in 1989. It has a crew of 127. The submarine is able to carry nuclear warheads onboard, but normally they are not carried. It is powered by the single 26MW reactor power unit. The fast-attack submarine is part of the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower strike group. The submarine is based in Norfolk, Va., and is part of a US-led multinational task force patrolling the Persian Gulf and nearby seas.

The Mogamikawa was travelling from the Persian Gulf to Singapore and was carrying a crew of eight Japanese and 16 Filipinos, Kyodo said.