NORFOLK, Va. —Two Navy ships that collided Tuesday afternoon during an underway replenishment in the Atlantic Ocean arrived at Naval Station Mayport in Florida on Wednesday so officials could assess the damage and probe what happened.
Officials told Navy Times that the collision involved the guided-missile cruiser Leyte Gulf and the Robert E. Peary — a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition vessel operated by Military Sealift Command.
Both were able to safely operate after they “touched sterns” around 4 p.m. Tuesday during the UNREP roughly 125 miles off the Georgia coast and no personnel were injured.
“There is minor damage to both ships,” said Capt. Scott Miller, spokesman for U.S. Fleet Forces Command, in a Wednesday interview.
“The Leyte Gulf has damage to the edge of their starboard quarter, which is near the fantail, while the Peary had a small-diameter hole in the ship’s hull, above the waterline.”
The two ships were diverted to Mayport, which was the nearest Navy base to their location at the time of the incident, officials said.
The cruiser is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
The Norfolk-based Peary is owned by the Navy but operated by a mostly civilian crew under Military Sealift Command.
Both ships were able to navigate on their own and did not need assistance to reach port but Miller insisted that the full extent of the damage wouldn’t be known until Navy officials have the chance to scrutinize both vessels.
Miller said that it remains unclear whether the two ships were physically connected when they collided.
Those details will be brought out during a formal investigation that’s now underway, he added.
It’s still too early to determine if both vessels will return to ongoing exercises alongside the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group or if repairs must be completed, Miller said.
“It’s premature to speculate when the ships might head back to sea,” Miller said. “We need to first find out what happened and assess both vessels.”
The Leyte Gulf is slated to deploy with the Lincoln later this spring.
The strike group is engaged in Composite Unit Training Exercise — COMPTUEX — which will certify the warships and their wing for an overseas tour.