A Japanese tug boat lost propulsion and collided with the guided-missile destroyer Benfold during a routine towing exercise Saturday, a 7th Fleet release said.

“No one was injured on either vessel and Benfold sustained minimal damage,” 7th Fleet officials said.

A full damage assessment is underway, according to officials.

“Benfold remains at sea under her own power,” the release said. “The Japanese commercial tug is being towed by another vessel to a port in Yokosuka.”

The ship is currently forward-deployed to 7th Fleet’s vast area of operations.

Towing exercises are a routine part of individual unit training of surface ships, designed to prepare the crew for how to handle bringing their own ship under tow by another vessel.

While understood to be minimally severe, the incident is yet another red flag for the Navy’s troubled 7th Fleet.

Numerous at-sea incidents this year, including the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions with merchant vessels that killed a total of 17 sailors, sparked a fleet-wide review of the Navy’s ability to conduct basic operations.

Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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