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US nuclear sub collides with Japanese tanker

A model of the tanker was shown to reporters in Tokyo
(9 January 2007) - The BBC is reporting that a US nuclear-powered submarine has collided with a Japanese tanker near the Straits of Hormuz, Japanese and US government officials have said.

The collision follows news revealed in December, 2006 of US Central Command plan's for an aggressive naval buildup in the Persian Gulf as part of its preparations to widen the imperialist war, including the addition of a second aircraft carrier to the US fleet.

Canadian warships are regularly stationed in the region.

The collision strips bare Canadian Defence Department propaganda about the "safety" of the "visits" of U.S. nuclear ships to Canadian ports and its disinformation that the prime "threat" is posed by "terrorists."

"The likelihood of a nuclear reactor accident involving a nuclear-powered vessel visiting a Canadian port is extremely remote, even though it cannot be entirely ruled out," says a Defence Department backgrounder on the topic.

On 12 October 2006, the Halifax Chronicle Herald reinforced the message, declaring, "There has never been an accident in a Canadian port involving a nuclear-powered vessel." ("Planning for disaster; "Terrorist" attack focus of exercise", Chris Lambie, http://www.shunpiking.org/ol0309/0309-AC-CL-mock.htm).

The USS Newport News did not suffer substantial damage, and there were no injuries to crew, a US Navy spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

There were no oil spills from Japanese tanker, the Mogamigawa, and no injuries, a company official said.

The tanker will dock in the United Arab Emirates to check the damage.

The bow of the submarine collided with the stern of the oil tanker at 1915GMT just outside the busy shipping lanes of the Straits of Hormuz.

The Mogamigawa is operated by Kawasaki Kisen Ltd, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Japanese oil company Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. told the agency the ship was en route from the Gulf to Singapore with a crew of eight Japanese and 16 Filipinos.

A US Navy spokesman in Bahrain said that there had been a collision.

"I can confirm that an incident took place between one of our submarines and a merchant ship," said Commander Kevin Aandahl of the US Fifth Fleet.

The 110-metre (360-foot) USS Newport News carries a crew of 127.

The BBC's Chris Hogg, in Tokyo, says there will be embarrassment for the US navy over the incident but also relief that the collision was not more serious.

In February 2001, the US nuclear submarine Greenville sank a Japanese fisheries training vessel, the Ehime Maru, off Hawaii, killing nine sailors on the fishing boat.

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