The guided-missile destroyer USS Howard is shown here in 2023 in the Philippine Sea.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Howard is shown here in 2023 in the Philippine Sea. (Santiago Navarro/U.S. Navy)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — An electrical fire aboard a guided-missile destroyer sent a dozen sailors to the hospital Friday, and damage to the ship is still being assessed, according to the Navy.

The USS Howard was anchored at its Yokosuka homeport when a minor electrical fire in the main engine room was “reported and extinguished Friday morning,” Destroyer Squadron 15 spokesman Lt. j.g. Ronan Williams said by phone and email Monday.

The sailors were sent to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka for evaluation, and seven were discharged that day in good condition, he said. Five remained at the hospital overnight but were discharged in good condition Saturday.

The fire’s cause is still under investigation and damage to the Howard is still being assessed, Williams said.

The blaze happened nearly four months after the destroyer sustained a “soft grounding” while deployed on Aug. 10.

The ship was en route to Bali, Indonesia, for a scheduled port visit when watch standers alerted that it had grounded. The ship was ultimately able to resume “normal operations under its own power and propulsion” and there were no injuries, 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Luka Bakic said by email at the time.

Nine days later, the Howard’s skipper, Cmdr. Kenji Igawa, was relieved for a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

Bakic, at the time, would not confirm whether the firing was related to the ship’s grounding.

Igawa was temporarily replaced by Capt. Edward Angelinas, who in turn handed the reins to Cmdr. Cameron Dennis, the Howard’s current commander.

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Alex Wilson covers the U.S. Navy and other services from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., he holds a journalism degree from the University of North Florida. He previously covered crime and the military in Key West, Fla., and business in Jacksonville, Fla.

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