Another Navy ship collision in the Pacific


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Another Navy ship was involved in a collision in the Pacific on Saturday, this time with a Japanese tugboat.

The USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, sustained minor damage when a tugboat lost propulsion and drifted into the ship, the Navy said. No one was injured on either vessel and an initial assessment of the damage showed that the destroyer only sustained minimal damage including scrapes.

It sounds as if the majority of the blame falls on the tugboat, though one must still wonder how a Navy destroyer was unable to avoid the drifting tugboat.

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12 comments

  • LocalFluff

    Because it was tugged during a certification exercise where I suppose the ship was supposed to play disabled to begin with (why otherwise exercise tugging it).

    There was this Australian aircraft carrier from ww2 that sank two destroyers. Unfortunately both destroyers carried allied flags and sank after colliding with the aircraft carrier i non-combat situations.

  • Garry

    I have a hard time coming up with a scenario where this was the ship’s fault. By their nature, tugs are much more maneuverable than ships. I would assume that the tug was being used to help maneuver the ship, but I don’t know this (this is another frantic day, without time to read other articles).

    If the tug was helping maneuver the ship, they were probably going very slowly, and large ships have very little maneuverability at low speeds. Tugs are typically used in tight situations where a ship would have a hard time maneuvering on its own; for example, tugs can be used to move a ship sideways, which it obviously can’t do on its own (although some smaller ships have bow thrusters, essentially propellers mounted on the side of the bow to give thrust in a sideways direction).

    I’ll try to find out more details late tonight, when I’ve met all of today’s deadlines.

  • Cotour

    This appears to be a non issue incident related to U.S. war ships and their readiness if this was a close quarters low speed situation and they were not underway and on patrol.

    The issue of concern arises when a ship is underway taking care of business whether during peace time or during conflict and evasive maneuvers are required but no one knows what the hell to do and serious damage and / or loss of life occurs.

  • Tom Billings

    “I have a hard time coming up with a scenario where this was the ship’s fault. By their nature, tugs are much more maneuverable than ships.”

    *Everything* that happens on a US Navy ship is the responsibility of the Captain. Its crew have to spend time in training

    The US Navy, over the last 10 years, has been forced by Congress and the WH to cut training to the bone and into the bone. This is an issue both for funding the training itself, and for funding sufficient ships and sailors to have 1/3rd on patrol, 1/3rd in training, and 1/3rd in maintenance drydock, while still performing the duties required of the Navy. For instance, the current deployment of 7 carriers out of 11 is a wrenching distortion of the pattern needed to keep the Fleet fit to fight. 7 Carrier Task Forces deployed may be desperately needed for the present Korean problem, but it is going to hurt down the line, in both maintenance and training.

    You *cannot* simply stop and start a Navy! It will take 12 years to repair fully the damages done to the US Navy in the last 10 years. Get used to that. Those who wanted to *force* long term changes against US policies defending industrial society around the world often find the Navy budget to be their longest lever, and they have used it, persistently, and will continue to try to do that.

  • LocalFluff

    @Tom
    “It will take 12 years to repair fully the damages done to the US Navy in the last 10 years.”
    That’ SLS talk!
    If it had taken 12 years to replace the Pearl Harbor ship losses in 1941, you’d be speaking Japanese today. And you refer to less training for a while, and suddenly the US Navy cannot float. Ridiculous!

  • Alex Andrite

    Check the USNI News site. This was a towing exercise, ie Destroyer was dead in the water and being towed by a tug, not maneuvered by the tug. Big difference.
    tug lost power and either Destroyer continued to drift into tug or the other way around.

  • wayne

    alex-
    appreciate those factoids.

    NBC news = they create lies wholesale and peddle them at retail.

  • Alex Andrite: Thank you. This clarifies things, and explains to me why no other news source picked up the story. As Wayne notes, the news source, NBC, is highly unreliable. I should have held off posting until I had more confirmation of the incident.

  • wayne

    Mark Levin:
    “The Media in this country do not understand, that they are hated by everybody…”
    2-16-17 clip
    https://youtu.be/epxR8Di7ClI
    5:58

  • Kirk

    I don’t see anything factually wrong with the NBC article. It described “a minor collision” and said, “The USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, sustained minor damage when a tugboat lost propulsion and drifted into the ship”. They brought up the previous, more serious incidents, but in no way implied that this incident was anywhere near on par with those.

  • Dick Eagleson

    LocalFluff,

    One problem with the story about the Aussie carrier; Australia didn’t have any carriers during WW2.

  • Garry

    Tom Billings, I agree with your larger points, but I think this accident is unrelated to them. There is certainly a pattern of collisions at sea that point to serious deficiencies, but this particular accident doesn’t seem to fit the pattern.

    I say this highlight the excellent points you brought. I didn’t realize that we have 7 carrier groups deployed; as you said, this is going to bring about some serious challenges!

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