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San Diego-Bound USS Essex, USNS Yukon Collide At Sea

USS Essex
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Above: USS Essex

The San Diego-bound USS Essex collided with the USNS Yukon this morning, according to the Navy. No one was injured in the collision, although both ship reported sustaining damage. The Navy reports no fuel was spilled in the mishap.

The collision happened at 9:20 Pacific Time, according to a Navy news release:

USS Essex (LHD 2) collided with USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) during an approach for a routine underway replenishment approximately 120 miles off the coast of Southern California due to an apparent steering malfunction aboard Essex.

An investigation into the collision in underway. The Navy reports:

A full assessment of any damage is ongoing.

As Home Post reported earlier today, the USS Essex, known as the "Iron Gator," is slated to return to San Diego tomorrow after a dozen years in Sasebo, Japan. The USS Bonhomme Richard swapped crews with the USS Essex last month, according to the Navy.

The Stars and Stripes reports the 21-year-old Essex was the flagship of the forward-deployed Expeditionary Strike Group 7. According to the military newspaper, the Essex recently was unable to fulfill two commitments at sea because of "maintenance issues." The Essex will undergo extensive maintenance in San Diego after it participates in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise this summer.

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