Daily US Times: A Japanese submarine collided with a commercial ship as it attempted to surface off Japan’s Pacific coast on Monday, government officials said.
Three crew members from the Maritime Self-Defense Force submarine Soryu suffered minor injuries, and pictures released by the Japanese Coast Guard showed it sustained damage to its fairwater planes, the winglike structures on its conning tower.
The accident occurred off the main island of Shikoku in southern Japan.
The submarine was commissioned in 2009 and it is the first in its class of Japanese diesel electric-powered submarines. It displaces about 3,000 tons and has around 65 crew.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said communications equipment on the sub was also damaged, although it was still able to operate.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said: “Soryu scraped the hull of the vessel as it was surfacing. It is extremely regrettable the MSDF submarine has collided with a commercial ship.”
Coast Guard officials added that the commercial vessel — the Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier Ocean Artemis — reported no damage.
Bradley Martin, a former US Navy captain and RAND Corp analyst who analyzed images of the damage, said the impact would have restricted the submarine’s capabilities.
Martin said: “I wouldn’t call the damage ‘minor.’ The submarine can’t dive and can’t communicate.”
The incident comes almost 20 years to the day after a US nuclear-powered attack submarine accidentally hit and sank a Japanese fishing vessel, killing nine people — including four high school students — near Honolulu.