An American guided-missile destroyer was gashed and dented on one side in a collision with an oil tanker early Sunday just outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The collision tore a hole about 10 feet by 10 feet in the right side of the destroyer, the Porter, above the water line. No one on the Porter or the other vessel, a Japanese-owned bulk oil carrier called the Otowasan, was hurt, the Navy said in a statement.
The Navy said that the collision, which happened about 1 a.m., was not “combat related”…
The extent of damage to the Otowasan was not known, but Reuters, citing an Omani coast guard official, reported that the ship was able to go on its way. Its scheduled destination was Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates just outside the strait, Reuters said, citing ship tracking Web sites. The Navy said there were no reported spills or leaks from either vessel.
One-fifth of the world’s crude oil is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz, a crowded and tense waterway at the entrance to the Persian Gulf between Iran and Oman. Iran has often threatened to block tanker traffic in retaliation for Western sanctions over its nuclear program, and the United States maintains a strong naval presence in the region in part to ensure that the strait remains open.
Understand that “crowded” means that at its narrowest, the Strait is 42 kilometers wide. About 14 tankers of this size pass through daily – and they move at about half the speed of an American destroyer. Because of their mass – even unladen – they are much less maneuverable than a warship like the Porter.
You could make a ship like the Porter dance circles around the Otowasan.