Japanese warship disabled after allegedly hitting rock during sea trials

Japanese warship disabled after allegedly hitting rock during sea trials

The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyer JS Inazuma sails in formation during a US-Japan bilateral exercise in the Sea of Japan, April 2022. (Photo: US Navy)

Japanese media reports that a warship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) suffered damage preventing it from sailing under its own power after it allegedly struck a rock in shallow waters off Yamaguchi prefecture on Tuesday, January 10.

The Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma had recently completed undergoing routine maintenance and was conducting sea trials in the Seto Inland Sea near Suo-Oshima Island when the crew felt the hull being rocked by a sudden large vibration on the morning (local time) of Tuesday.

The ship then lost propulsive power, prompting the crew to drop anchor while awaiting the arrival of other vessels that will tow it to port. Reports said the power loss is likely due to damage suffered by the propeller and the rudder.

No injuries have been reported among Inazuma‘s crew. However, JMSDF officials confirmed that an oil slick measuring approximately 30 by 30 metres was seen on the surface near the stern of the disabled destroyer.

The crew initiated oil cleanup activities by dropping absorbent pads, which were later collected by personnel on nearby responding vessels to prevent traces of the slick from drifting further out to sea.

Local media outlet Kyodo News has quoted a Japan Coast Guard officer as saying that an investigation will seek to determine whether the incident was caused by professional negligence.

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