Navy vessels damaged in Strait of Hormuz collision
March 21, 2009
Two U.S. Navy vessels collided early Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, slightly injuring 15 sailors, damaging both vessels and spilling oil into the water, a Navy official said.
The fast-attack nuclear submarine USS Hartford and the amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans collided abut 1 a.m. local time, according Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet.
"The important takeaway from this is that there was no damage to the Hartford’s nuclear propulsion plant," he said.
Fifteen sailors aboard the Hartford, commanded by Cmdr. Ryan Brookhart, were slightly injured, but all have returned to duty, a Navy news release stated. No personnel aboard the New Orleans, commanded by Cmdr. Scott Davies, were hurt.
The submarine sustained some damage, but specific details could not be released, Christensen said. The New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel oil tank, which in turn spilled roughly 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the water.
Both ships are operating under their own power, and are sailing to an undisclosed port in the Persian Gulf area for repairs, Christensen said.
Both vessels were inbound in the Strait of Hormuz when the collision occurred. The submarine was submerged at the time of the early-morning collision. The seas had about one-foot swells at the time, and the winds were about 20 knots, Christensen said.
Christensen declined to release further details of the incident pending the outcome of a Navy investigation.
The submarine is homeported in Groton, Conn., and operates with a crew of 13 officers and 116 enlisted personnel, according to the Navy’s Web site. The New Orleans is homeported in San Diego and operates with a crew of 80 officers and 638 enlisted personnel. The vessel can carry upward of 30 helicopters. It has onboard a Marine detachment from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.