Home » Budget Industry » Cruiser USS Antietam Runs Aground in Tokyo Bay, Spills Oil

Cruiser USS Antietam Runs Aground in Tokyo Bay, Spills Oil

USS Antietam (CG-54) underway on March 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

USS Antietam (CG-54) underway on March 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

The Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54) ran aground on Tuesday in Tokyo Bay resulting in an oil spill, two Navy officials confirmed USNI News.

The ship – part of the Navy’s forward deployed forces – was in the process of anchoring in the bay when it ran aground and damaged its props. Antietam was unable to maneuver on its own and was brought back to into port with tugs.

“There were no injuries to U.S. or Japanese personnel. The incident did result in the discharge of hydraulic oil into the water,” read a statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet provided to USNI News.

One official told USNI News that the cruiser lost hundreds of gallons of oil.

“The Navy is cooperating with the Government of Japan and Japanese Coast Guard in response to this issue and is taking appropriate measures to minimize impacts to the environment,” read the statement.

The Navy is investigating the incident.

The following is the Jan. 31, 2017 statement on
Antietam’s grounding.

USS Antietam Damaged During Anchoring

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – On January 31 Japan time, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, USS Antietam (CG 54), damaged the ship’s propellers while anchoring in Tokyo Bay. An investigation is underway to assess the full extent of the damage.

The ship safely returned to Fleet Activities Yokosuka with the help of tugs. There were no injuries to U.S. or Japanese personnel. The incident did result in the discharge of hydraulic oil into the water.

The Navy is cooperating with the Government of Japan and Japanese Coast Guard in response to this issue and is taking appropriate measures to minimize impacts to the environment.

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Categories: Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • Ed L

    Well regardless there goes the Skipper, Navigator and the OOD at least. Maybe the Conning Officer and XO too. Nothing like a grounding to ruin ones career. Unless one was driving an LST>

    • Mick James

      He simply had an unscheduled beaching (LCM-8 swain’s best excuse)

    • NavySubNuke

      Yup – taking everyone who had a hand in any mistake out back and shooting them is the Navy way after all. God forbid we give officers a chance to learn from their mistakes and grow as professionals after all. Never mind creating a culture and a mentality that actually begs people to hide whatever mistakes they can as it is the only chance of saving their career — what could possibly go wrong with that sort of culture right?
      And then we wonder why most of the best and brightest JOs leave the Navy at their first opportunity….

      • meanmarine

        Shooting them is a better way than in the old days way, hanging them from the highest yard arm.

        • Donald Carey

          Or being keelhauled…

        • TheEvilBlight

          Hanging was reserved for mutiny and a rare “failing to do utmost…”

      • TheEvilBlight

        Many officers were court martialed by the RN during the Napoleonic Wars. Byng was hanged to remind officers that retreat before risk taking was to be discouraged in combat.

    • Dave E

      LT Mike Mullen ran his boat into a buoy in early 70s & CAPT Bob Kelly the skipper of the Enterprise got Big E stuck on a sandbar in SF bay in early 80s….both made it up to 4 star flag rank (Mullen was both CNO & CJCS). Either miracles happen or it pays to have powerful sea daddies.

      • layla

        Did the latter two involve massive discharge of oil? I think the Sea Daddies comment is obvious.

        • Dave E

          COs have been sacked ( that whole “loss of confidence” & “zero defects” thing) for mishaps both major & minor. Not sure what this has to do exactly w/ having an oil spill (of course not a good thing).

        • Aubrey

          While it is not a good thing, in no way can you consider 1,100 gallons a “massive discharge”.

          In contrast, the 11 MILLION gallons the Exxon Valdez spilled could probably be called “massive”.

      • ADM64

        Mullen was hardly a credit to his second chance. Nimitz, on the other hand was navigating in what was at that time virtually uncharted water, was an ensign, and went on to be a victorious and successful CINCPAC and CNO.

    • Ctrot

      “The destroyer Decatur ran aground on a sandbar in the Philippines on July 7, 1908 while under the command of Ensign Nimitz. The ship was pulled free the next day, and Nimitz was court-martialed, found guilty of neglect of duty, and issued a letter of reprimand.” – Wikipedia

      • TheEvilBlight

        I think it’s more that letter of reprimand is more career-killing today than back then.

    • old guy

      It’s good to be a noncom

  • Jon

    “taking appropriate measures to minimize impacts to the environment.” Lest we forget about the millions of gallons of radioactive waste water pouring into the Pacific from the Fukisima plant… What a joke.

  • Robert Philbrook

    Dangerous harbor. I was there in 1978. 🙂
    September 21 – Struck rock while departing Yokosuka, Japan. Assisted back to
    port by 2 tugs, for major repairs. In drydock for 7 weeks.

    • Russ Neal

      I was Navigator on the Truxtun in WESPAC when that happened. Believe me it kept me awake at nights.

      • muzzleloader

        Was the Truxton part of the all nuclear task force? (Enterprise, Long Beach, and Truxton). I was on the big E for that.

  • Bhess

    Nice knowing you skipper. There are going to be some reassignments over this. Sometimes the navy over does it on this stuff. Thankfully Nimitz was forgiven as a young officer for running his ship aground. The circumstances matter.

    • Bill

      You beat me to mentioning Nimitz.

  • God DAMNIT, who told CARL he can drive the boat?

  • old guy

    Many years ago a Captain friend of mine came into Norfolk to retire. The captain that took over the ship ran it aground in the channel. Would you believe that he was out of the Navy before my friend?

    • MLepay

      That wasn’t the Missouri was it? Very famous that it ran aground in Chesapeake Bay, they had a heck of a time re-floating her.

      • old guy

        You are correct, but it wasn’t in the bay; it was in Hampton Roads. It was sort of unfair. The seaway hadn’t been dredged properly, giving the ship only 5′ clearance at the keel, with low fuel. Fueled it would have 21/2′. It skews slightly and drifted off onto an underdredged sand bar. The reason he was cashiered was that the incoming captain had warned him. Sic transit gloria mundi.

        • tpharwell

          My information comes from a sailor aboard the submarine that came to its aid as part of a salvage team. They needed barrels to float it off. The submarine provided compressed air for the hardhat divers who blasted holes through the muck so that the barrels could be fitted and filled.

          Being on the deck of the sub was a little like being on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan, looking up. My informant said the captain of the MO was gone before the day was out. Based on the information, I would not say the battleship drifted anywhere, exactly, although tides unquestionably played a part. It was not sand, it was mud. And given what I was told by a first hand observer, I would say it was run aground, and stuck fast.

          This, for those who do not know the story, was during the Korean War.

          • old guy

            Thanks, More corroborative detail;. If i remember correctly, the compressed air came from the Prairie Masker system.

  • Ed L

    I remember Chernobyl, Sad, Was in the command center. watching the footage of firefighters on foot near the damage building with the wind in there face. The wind shifted quite a bit in that footage. then the Brave Aircrews of the Helicopters dumping sand though the roof opening onto the pile. I wonder if they knew they were going to die a horrible death.

  • MLepay

    I tend to agree with 716 and you really lost me wanting to consider your point right at the start with bleeding heart comment and really… referring to the Japanese as yellows?

    • Bo

      My Dad … a WWII Marine in the Pacific … referred to the Japanese in much harsher terms than “yellows.” Relax with the PC faux outrage. I agree with George MacDonald Frasier’s assessment of Hiroshima as so eloquently stated in “Quartered Safe Out Here.”

      • MLepay

        Not PC Faux outrage at all, it is simple respect that my Father (also a WWII veteran Atlantic and Pacific) taught me. It is why, for example, in my posts if I refer to the President, regardless of who it is, I use either ‘President’ or ‘POTUS’ not some demeaning/insulting name.

  • draeger24

    IT’s amazing that with the precision of GPS backed up by manual nav, especially during this evolution, that there was really a “grounding”….perhaps they hit a half submerged log, etc.

  • seamarshal

    Depends upon whether the Vessel was under the control of the Harbor Pilot. I would think so since he was within the Harbor. Pilots should know the harbor like the palm of their hand. Several other Naval Vessels have grounded with Harbor Pilots in control and the COs was not relieved. Several years ago the Captain of an aircraft carrier grounded in SF Bay and was in line for promotion to Admiral. He go his star!

  • joenyc

    “The incident did result in the discharge of hydraulic oil into the water,”
    and discharge of the commanding officer

  • Jon

    No, not joking about Fukishima. Simply laughing at the concern of a fueloil in the water in the same area that has been forever degraded by nuclear waste water. As for the Japnese efforts to contain it – it’s been documented on several occasions that they have no real way to stop the leakage and God only knows the real effects of all that material going into the pacific.

    • CaptainParker


  • Babylonandon

    Tokyo Bay and the area around Yokosuka is kind of notorious for that happening … and several of the incidents have caused significant damage to the ships – the coasts not so much. That’s not exactly “fabulous clean water” there, either … there are all kinds of sea traffic and the civilian ships “accidentally” dump stuff there fairly regularly. Always used to amaze me the guys I’d watch hauling fish and crabs out of that harbor and still want to eat it. Not me.

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    A career affecting situation

    • MA

      Career ending

  • zhodanius

    It didn’t help it at the time (1908). I just did a little reading. He reported the grounding, received a court martial for “culpable inefficiency” but was found guilty of “neglect of duty.” He was relieved of command, transferred back to the US and served on submarines where he rebuilt his career.

    From “Showdown in the Pacific War: Nimitz and Yamamoto”