Japanese tug boat scrapes US Navy ship during exercise

In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. (James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP)

TOKYO (AP) – The U.S. Navy says a Japanese tug boat lost propulsion and drifted into an American guided-missile destroyer during a towing exercise.

The Navy said in a statement that the USS Benfold sustained minimal damage during Saturday’s incident, including scrapes on its side. No one was injured on either vessel. The commercial tug boat was being towed to a port in Yokosuka, the home of the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet.

The collision occurred in Sagami Bay. The Benfold remained at sea under its own power, and the Navy said that the incident would be investigated.

The 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year in which Navy warships and commercial ships collided at sea. The incidents prompted dismissals of Navy commanders.

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