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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MSDF ship, freighter clip sterns in Vietnam port

Staff writer

A Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer collided with a Cambodian cargo ship in the port of Ho Chi Minh City around 12:20 p.m. Monday Japan time, less than two weeks after another MSDF warship collided with and sank a small trawler off Chiba Prefecture, MSDF officers said.

News photo
The destroyer Hamayuki, which collided with a Cambodian cargo ship in Vietnam on Monday, is seen in 2000. KYODO FILE PHOTO

The 3,050-ton Hamayuki was coming into the Vietnamese port when its stern clipped the stern of the Masan, a midsize Cambodian cargo ship, MSDF spokesman Kozo Okuda told The Japan Times.

No one was injured in the collision. Okuda declined to comment on the cause of the accident, saying the investigation was still under way.

A local pilot was aboard the MSDF ship at the time of the accident, according to Okuda.

The Hamayuki, with about 180 crew members on board, left Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, with two escort ships Feb. 22 for oceanic navigation training exercises, the spokesman said.

The collision bent the destroyer's flag pole and dented its stern, while the Masan suffered scratches, he said.

On Feb. 19, the 7,700-ton Atago, the newest MSDF Aegis destroyer, sank a 7.3-ton fishing boat in the Pacific in a collision. The boat's father-and-son crew have not been seen since.

Initial reports indicated the Atago crew was largely at fault in the collision, raising concerns about the possible operational lapse among MSDF personnel.

When asked to comment on the timing of the latest accident, Okuda said, "Since we are still confirming the situation, we are unable to comment on that."

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The Japan Times

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