The tugboat was towed to a port in Yokosuka, a city south of Tokyo, where the 7th Fleet has its headquarters. The Navy said the collision will be investigated.
This incident occurred amid heightened scrutiny of the 7th Fleet in the wake of numerous embarrassing accidents, including two fatal collisions involving guided-missile destroyers. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship in Tokyo Bay, flooding the destroyer and killing seven sailors. Two months later, the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, leaving 10 sailors dead.
After the McCain collision, the Navy announced a fleet-wide investigation and fired several officers. In August, the Navy relieved the admiral in charge of the 7th Fleet due to a “loss of confidence,” and two senior officers who oversaw warships involved in accidents were fired weeks later for the same reason. Last month, the Navy fired the McCain’s top two officers due to what officials called poor judgment and leadership on their part.
The Navy said earlier this month that investigations had determined that the collisions involving the Fitzgerald and McCain “were preventable” and caused by “multiple failures” by service members.
“We are a Navy that learns from mistakes, and the Navy is firmly committed to doing everything possible to prevent an accident like this from happening again,” Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said in a statement when the investigations into those collisions were released. “We must never allow an accident like this to take the lives of such magnificent young Sailors and inflict such painful grief on their families and the nation.”