The USS Benfold (DDG-65) was involved in a collision near Japan on Saturday with a Japanese commercial tug boat.
U.S. Navy destroyer's run-in comes in the wake of a number of prior incidents, some deadly, involving U.S. Navy ships this year in the Pacific, ABC News reports. The Seventh Fleet has undergone numerous command changes in the wake of those incidents.
The guided-missile destroyer was in Japan's Sagami Bay where she was participating in a towing exercise when the latest incident occurred. The Japanese tug boat lost propulsion and drifted into into the Benfold.
The Benfold sustained minimal damage, and there were no reported injuries on either vessel, according to a 7th Fleet press release. The destoyer is currently awaiting a full damage assessment.
The last incident occurred in August when the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collided with a merchant ship, leaving 10 of the McCain's crew dead and another five injured. After the McCain's collision, an investigation ensued and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered a global "operational pause" while the collisions were addressed.
Investigations into the McCain and a prior incident involving the USS Fitzgerald concluded earlier this month that the crashes were "avoidable." The incidents have motivated some lawmakers and military leaders to call for immediate changes, beyond personnel changes, the New York Times reported. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) pointed to the high operation tempo putting strain on Naval ships in the Pacific and sequestration, automatic Pentagon budget cuts that have occurred since 2013, as major issues.
"We’ve deprived them of the funds to do it," Mr. McCain said of the continuous operations in the Pacific. "We’re putting those men and women in harm’s way to be wounded or killed because we refuse to give them the sufficient training and equipment and readiness. It’s a failure of Congress. It’s on us."