The Navy is investigating how two warships entered a collision course in a narrow channel in California’s San Diego Bay on Tuesday.
According to a Navy official, the ships came within 35 yards of each other Tuesday morning, but were able to avert disaster with last-minute maneuvers.
US 3rd Fleet spokesperson Lt. “The USS Momsen and USS Harpers Ferry were crossing in opposite directions in the immediate vicinity of San Diego Bay on November 29. Both vessels maneuvered safely,” Samuel Boyle told ABC News.
As a result of the avoidance actions, none were damaged and no sailors were injured.
According to the Navy official, the incident occurred in a very narrow section of the channel that required constant turns. The commanders of both ships agreed in advance to cross the channel at the same time and to cross in opposite directions. But although the ships had been communicating from the very beginning, they eventually sailed head-to-head with each other.
A second Navy official confirmed the authenticity of an incident. Video posted on Twitter this shows near miss and includes the sound of two ships communicating to avoid collision.
In the video, the transmission from the Momsen bridge to the Harpers Ferry can be heard: “We are coming to port to avoid you.”
The word “pier” is used here in the sense of the sea, so as can be seen in the video Momsen intended to take a left turn.
Harpers Ferry replied in the same way: “We are coming to port to avoid you.”
The Harpers Ferry is a 610-foot-long amphibious ship that is twice as heavy as the Momsen destroyer, so it appears to be slower to turn in the video.
Simply stopping and letting the other pass was not a viable option for either ship, since without propulsion they would be at the mercy of currents and winds and would not be stationary and on course relative to the first. formal. However, he added that while it is not unusual for ships to cross the channel in opposite directions, in this situation they are getting closer than they should.
“We were watching him and… [surface warfare officers] the second Navy official said, “Wow, that was close!”
The Navy is now trying to figure out how the two ships got into this predicament in the first place and who might be responsible.
San Diego Bay is home to one of the largest Navy bases in the United States, serving as the home port for more than 50 ships and tens of thousands of personnel.
Luis Martinez of ABC News contributed to this report.