On January 8th, there was a minor collision between an American
nuclear sub (the USS Newport News) and 1,100 foot long, 300,000 ton tanker (the
Mogamigawa) in the Persian Gulf. There was some damage to the ship, in the form
of a 108 foot long tear in the rear hull. The tear was four inches wide, and
letting water in. The U.S. Navy has not said what damage there was to the bow
of the sub, but a similar Los Angeles class boat survived plowing, head on, into
an underwater sea mount at high speed two years ago. These subs are very
sturdy. A preliminary investigation indicates that the tanker was passing
safely over the 360 foot long Newport News, but was going at such "high speed"
(probably about 35 kilometers an hour), that a sucking effect was created, that
pulled the 6,300 ton sub up until its bow banged against the bottom of the
passing tanker. The Newport News was moving south, through the Straits of
Hormuz, as was the Japanese ship. The tanker carried a crew of 24, the sub has
127 sailors on board. U.S. nuclear subs operate in the Persian Gulf to keep an
eye on the Iranian navy.
is not the first time the Mogamigawa ran into problems at sea. In late 2002,
while passing through the Malacca Straits, a speedboat full of pirates tried to
board in the pre-dawn hours. The crew spotted the pirates, and used a
searchlight to scare them off.