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USS Benfold collides with Japanese tugboat during towing exercise; no injuries reported

By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 18, 2017

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – No injuries were reported after a U.S. warship collided with a Japanese commercial tugboat Saturday in Japan’s Sagami Bay.

The accident occurred after the Japanese vessel lost propulsion and drifted into the USS Benfold during a towing exercise, a Navy statement said. The guided-missile destroyer suffered minimal damage and is awaiting a full assessment.

The Benfold was operating under its own power, while the Japanese vessel was being towed to a port in Yokosuka, the statement said.

The Navy said the incident will be investigated.

The Benfold was conducting the routine training as part of a seamanship certification, said 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Clay Doss.

The collision is the latest in a slew of accidents involving U.S. warships in the Pacific this year.

In January, the USS Antietam ran aground and spilled roughly 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay; in June, a collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant ship killed seven sailors; and in August, a collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker killed 10 sailors.

The USS Benfold is homeported at Yokosuka, home to the Navy’s 7th Fleet.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com

The USS Benfold and Republic of Singapore Navy?s RSS Endurance sail together during Exercise Pacific Griffin 2017, off the coast of Guam, August 28, 2017.
COURTESY OF U.S. NAVY

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