Two Navy ships were damaged on Wednesday when they collided nearly 120 miles off the coast of California in the Pacific Ocean.
Navy officials report that there were no fuel spills or injuries aboard the amphibious assault vehicle USS Essex or the USNS Yukon oiler.
The Yukon oiler was run into by the USS Essex as it approached the ship to be refueled.
According to the Associated Press steering on the Essex may have failed as it reached the Yukon, causing it to smash into the oilers side. The ship was carrying 982 crew members on its way to San Diego.
This isn’t the first time the Yukon has been involved in an accident, two previous collisions have occurred over the ships 19 years in service, including one accident during a refueling maneuver in Hawaii.
While this is the first crash for the 844-foot Essex, it is not the first time the ship has experienced problems. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune the 20-year-old warship has run into various mechanical and maintenance issues over the years has has failed to meet commitments at sea on several occasions.
Officials say the Essex is in need of a major overhaul to fix general issues of “wear and tear” that are expected to occur on a two decade old wartime ship.
In the meantime refueling and cargo dropoffs at sea remained a highly choreographed routine which often finds two ships smashing into one another as they move materials from one vessel to the next. On the other hand not returning to port each time fuel is needed allows the Navy to keep a constant presence in open waters.