Fishing Boat Collides with Navy Cruiser

A sailor peers through a pair of binoculars at the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (2012, USN file image)

Published May 9, 2017 5:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief] At midday on May 9, a small Korean fishing boat struck the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain during an exercise near Ulleung Island in the Sea of Japan.

The incident is under investigation by both the U.S. Navy and the South Korea Coast Guard. The Navy said in a statement that a damage assessment is under way, but South Korean media report that both vessels sustained minimal damage and were able to continue under their own power. 

The 65-foot long boat struck the Champlain amidships on the port side. Photos published by Yonhap show long cracks in the fishing boat's hull plating at the bow, and U.S. Navy sources told USNI that the Champlain sustained a small dent. No injuries or pollution were reported. 

The fishing vessel, identified as the 502 Nam Yang, reportedly had its AIS turned off and did not respond to radio calls and sound signals in the moments leading up to the collision. 

Lake Champlain is part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, which has been redeployed to the Sea of Japan to deter North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile testing. In addition to the Champlain, the strike group includes the USS Wayne E. Meyer and the USS Michael Murphy.