U.S. Navy ships operate in close proximity to other ships all the time, from steaming in formation with supply ships to sailing in busy sea lanes. Inadvertent between ships, no matter how thorough the precautions, is inevitable.
Today's New York Times includes a involving U.S. Navy vessels at sea. The list includes the famous USS John F. Kennedy/USS Belknap collision, which resulted in the guided missile cruiser's superstructure being virtually sheared off. It also lists the sinking of the Spanish fishing boat Barcona, which accidentally snagged the attack submarine USS Houston and was dragged underwater.
The Times' list is by no means complete, however. Here's a few more collision events you may or may not have heard of. Many took place during the Cold War between U.S. Navy and Soviet Navy ships, as the two fleets stalked one another in one cat and mouse game after another.
: On June 3rd, 1969 the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne collided with the U.S. Navy destroyer Frank E. Evans in the South China Sea. Seventy three of the 275 crewmembers on the Evans were killed.
: On November 19th, 1969 in the Barents Sea, the Soviet missile submarine K-19 (of movie fame) collided with the U.S. Navy attack submarine USS Gato.
: On August 28th 1976, the Soviet submarine K-22 collided with the U.S. Navy fast frigate USS Voge. Voge had been stalking K-22 and the Soviet Navy captain was unaware of her presence until a collision was imminent. Voge received hull damage but there were no injuries.
: On April 9th, 1981 world's first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, George Washington, collided with the cargo ship Nissho Maru off the coast of Sasebo, Japan. Two crewmembers aboard the cargo ship were killed when it sank 15 minutes after the collision. There was no damage to the nuclear missiles onboard nor the submarine's nuclear reactor.
: On March 21st, 1984 the Soviet attack submarine K-134 collided with the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Sea of Japan. K-134 was seriously damaged and had to be towed away from the collision site.
: On February 12th, 1988 the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown and the guided missile destroyer USS Caron were conducting freedom of navigation operations inside Soviet waters in the Black Sea when Yorktown was bumped by the Soviet Navy frigate Bezzavetny. Yorktown sustained minor damage but continued sailing. There were no injuries.
: On February 9th, 2001 off the coast of Oahu, the nuclear attack submarine USS Greeneville surfaced underneath the Japanese high school training ship Ehime Maru. The training ship sank, killing nine including four high school students.
: On March 20th, 2009 in the Strait of Hormuz the nuclear attack submarine USS Hartford collided with the amphibious transport USS New Orleans while at periscope depth. Fifteen sailors aboard the submarine were injured and a huge gash was ripped open in the submarine's side.
The : On the night of September 8th, 1923 fourteen U.S. Navy destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 11 were traveling from San Francisco to San Diego when more than half the force grounded at Honda Point. Seven destroyers, USS Deply, USS S.P. Lee, USS Young, USS Woodbury, USS Nicholas, USS Fuller, and USS Chauncey were so heavily damaged they were later scrapped, and two other destroyers sustained minor damage. Twenty-three sailors were killed in the largest single peacetime loss of ships in the Navy's history. A combination of navigational errors, poor visibility, and swells caused by the in Japan contributed to the disaster.