USS Niagara Falls runs aground at Palau
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The USNS Niagara Falls ran aground Thursday afternoon when departing Malakal Harbor on Palau, an island group southeast of the Philippines.
After the incident, which occurred around 1 p.m., local tugboats were asked to assist the ship in freeing itself. No injuries or indication of leakage was reported, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release.
Self-described as a “floating supermarket,” the 581-foot-long USNS Niagara Falls delivers large quantities of frozen, chilled and dry food, resale items, spare parts, and other consumables to fleet task forces operating at sea.
The crew is mostly civilian, with about 115 merchant mariners and 28 Navy personnel. The ship also has a 30-person detachment to operate the two helicopters aboard.
The ship is one of five “combat stores ships” in the Military Sea- lift Command and is one of 36 ships in the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. Home-ported out of San Diego, the ship is forward-deployed to Guam to support the 7th Fleet. Japan, South Korea and Singapore are among its usual ports of call.
The Niagara Falls participated in tsunami-relief missions in South Asia after a devastating earthquake and tsunamis in the region late last year, a 7th Fleet spokesman said last spring.