A South Korean fishing vessel collided with a U.S. warship off the Korean Peninsula on May 9, the U.S. Navy announced in a press statement. The incident involved the U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) fishing ship 502 Namyang.
“There was an accident involving the U.S. cruiser USS Lake Champlain and the South Korean fishing ship 502 Namyang in the waters 56 miles south of Ulleung Island at around noon today,” a ROK military official told Yonhaps News agency.
According to the U.S. Navy, “no one was injured when the fishing vessel collided with Lake Champlain’s port side, amid ship, at approximately 11:50 a.m. (+9I), on May 9, 2017.” The USS Lake Champlain was conducting routine operations in international waters.
The USS Lake Champlain and Namyang were able to navigate under their own power after the collision.
“The incident is under investigation by both U.S. Navy and South Korea Coast Guard. Damage assessments of both the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser and the 60-70 ft. long fishing vessel are underway,” the U.S. Navy statement reads.
The USS Lake Champlain is part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which deployed to the Pacific in January and was redirected toward the Korean Peninsula last month. Next to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, the Carl Vinson CSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112).
In an April 18 statement, the Carl Vinson CSG commander, Rear Admiral Jim Kilby, said that the deployment of the group has been extended by 30 days to provide a persistent presence in the waters off the Korean Peninsula.
“Our mission is to reassure allies and our partners of our steadfast commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “We will continue to be the centerpiece of visible maritime deterrence, providing our national command authority with flexible deterrent options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence.”
Beginning with its forward deployment in January, the Carl Vinson CSG has participated in various exercises with U.S. allies in the region.
“The carrier strike group participated in the Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command eight week-long Foal Eagle exercise, a series of military drills conducted by U.S. and South Korean air, ground, naval, and special operations forces,” I reported in April. “Together with the Key Resolve computer-simulated command post exercise, Foal Eagle is the largest annually-held joint U.S.-South Korean military drill.”
The USS Carl Vinson also conducted routine patrols in the South China Sea earlier in the year.