MSDF sub collides with chemical tanker
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 19:58 EST
TOKYO — Part of a surfacing Maritime Self-Defense Force submarine hit a Panamanian-registered chemical tanker Tuesday morning in the Pacific some 50 kilometers off Nichinan, Miyazaki Prefecture, but nobody was injured in the incident, the Japan Coast Guard and Defense Agency said. The 2,900-ton, diesel-powered training sub Asashio with 75 crew members aboard was on a training voyage when its vertical rudder on the tail hit the 4,000-ton Spring Auster with 17 crew members aboard at around 9:50 a.m., they said.
The rudder was damaged and the tanker had water entering a ballast tank in the middle of the ship but it did not affect navigation, they said. The coast guard is investigating the incident suspecting the sub's efforts to detect surface ships by sonar and other means before surfacing was insufficient, coast guard officials said. The sub first surfaced to near the surface of the sea. After its sonar system detected the tanker, it began to submerge but its rudder hit the vessel on the course of going underwater, they said.