Two US Navy vessels collide in the Strait of Hormuz; 15 lightly injured

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

According to the United States Navy Fifth Fleet, two vessels registered to the US Navy collided on Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, located near Iran. Fifteen sailors were reported to have been slightly injured.

The two craft involved in the incident were the USS New Orleans, a transporter and the USS Hartford, a nuclear-powered submarine. The New Orleans' fuel tank ruptured upon impact, leaking 90 to 95 thousand litres of diesel fuel.

"New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine," the navy said in a statement. "Both the submarine and the ship are currently on regularly scheduled deployments to the U.S. Navy Central Command area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations."

A spokesman for the Fifth Fleet, Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, said that "there is no disruption to shipping traffic in the strait," and "both ships are operating under their own power and have passed through the strait."

"It was a night-time event and the submarine was submerged at the time," Christensen replied when asked about how the accident happened.

The Strait of Hormuz separates Oman from Iran, and is the entrance into the Gulf. An estimate by the International Energy Agency said that over 15 million barrels of crude oil passed through the strait every day in tankers. It is less than a hundred kilometres broad at its widest point.