Two U.S. Navy Ships Collide

Two Navy ships collided on Thursday, causing serious damage but no injuries.

The USS Denver was being resupplied at sea by the USNS Yukon about 180 miles west of Hawaii when the incident happened at about 6:15 p.m.Hawaii time.

Both ships are massively damaged, classified photos show. The Denver has a hole running across the ship, and portions of its anchor have been torn out. The Yukon has compartments that are open to the sea, though they’re not taking on water.

“There were no personnel injuries aboard either ship ... both vessels are seaworthy,” said Navy spokesman Lt. Flex Plexico.

The ships were doing an “underway replenishment,” a tricky maneuver where two ships are brought very close to each other at a near-standstill and supplies are sent over a line shot between the bows of the two ships.

One of the ships may have lost steering because of a mechanical problem during the refueling, military sources said.

The crash happened at the forward end of the ships above the water line, and neither ship is taking on water. The Denver has damage to its bow, or front, section, and the Yukon has damage to its starboard, or right, quarter, according to the Navy. Both ships have gashes in their hulls.

Not the First Time

The Yukon was involved in another crash on February 27, when it collided with a much smaller civilian cargo ship while trying to enter port in Dubai, in the Middle East. The Yukon sustained minor damage in that crash.

Captain Mark J. Wilson headed the Yukon’s crew in both crashes, said Marge Holtz, spokeswoman for Military Sealift Command in Washington, D.C. A different helmsman was at the wheel during each crash.

Thursday’s crash is under investigation, Plexico said. The results of the investigation into the February crash haven’t been made public.

Utility Ships

The Denver is an Amphibious Transport Dock type ship, which carries troops, helicopters, tanks and cargo to a conflict zone. Commanded by Cpt. Charles Webber and based in San Diego, the ship has approximately 380 sailors and officers on board.

The Yukon is an oiler attached to the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, which supplies fuel and runs the U.S. Mail for other ships on long tours at sea. The Yukon has approximately 100 crew on board.

The Denver and the Yukon are now on their way to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, under their own power. They’re moving at 7 knots, a relative crawl. The Denver should arrive later today, and the Yukon is expected to arrive sometime this weekend.

ABCNEWS’ Barbara Starr and ABCNEWS.com’s Sascha Segan contributed to this report.

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