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Two U.S. Navy warships were forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a head-on collision in San Diego Bay Tuesday, video shows, and now the service is investigating the incident.
Video shared on Twitter by San Diego Webcam shows the moment the guided-missile destroyer Momsen, entering the harbor, approaches the exiting dock landing ship Harper’s Ferry. The ships appear to be heading directly toward each other before the 544-foot Momsen makes a hard turn to port, or left, to avoid the larger, 610-foot Harper’s Ferry.
Harper’s Ferry also turns to port, although the ship is not as nimble as the smaller destroyer. The ships slip past each other without incident.
A longer video published by San Diego Webcam Wednesday on its Youtube channel shows the Harper’s Ferry making a tight turn to port as it rounds North Island, hugging the left side of the channel.
The Momsen begins its turn starboard until it’s heading directly toward the Harper’s Ferry. It then makes its turn to avoid the ship.
The near-miss appears to have occurred in a narrow section of the channel between Naval Base Point Loma and Naval Air Station North Island, according to the video.
A 3rd Fleet spokesperson in San Diego confirmed the ships were in close vicinity and said the Navy is investigating the incident.
“Both ships maneuvered to safety,” said Lt. Samuel Boyle in an email. “There were no injuries or damage to the ships as a result of those maneuvers.”
According to international inland navigation rules, vessels approaching one another are required to stay to the right and pass one another on the left.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Navy officials declined to comment on navigation rules in San Diego Bay Wednesday.
Harper’s Ferry is homeported in San Diego and Momsen in Everett, Wash.
3:44 p.m. Nov. 30, 2022: This story was updated with more information on navigation rules.
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