What’s It Like When Your Warship Runs Into an Oil Tanker?

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Navy photo / MCS 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman

Navy officials survey the damage to the USS Porter following its collision with a Japanese oil tanker.

Ever wonder how one of the Navy’s most sophisticated warships, the guided missile destroyer USS Porter, could collide with an oil tanker just outside the Strait of Hormuz early Sunday? Well, safe to say the Navy is trying to figure that out, as well.

In the meantime, Cdr. Salamander, an anonymously-run naval blog, has what purportedly is an email from the Porter:

All of us in combat thought we were clear when we heard we were slowing to 5 knots. Not more than 30 seconds later the ship started coming through the wall. Combat had no warning at all that we were going to collide as we had no paint on this guy. It happened so quickly that there was no time to brace for shock or the collision alarm. It happened so fast. I will never forget that sound or the smell that went along with it…

We still have not been able to get the ACs back online so the temperature on the ship is well over 130 degrees and has been deemed uninhabitable. The first night in port, everyone slept topside as no one knew what to do with 300 homeless sailors on such short notice. We have about 100 or so cots set up not but that still leave people sleeping topside….

The whole situation is still very unreal and we are all very lucky to be alive. Had we hit head on or at midships, we would have lost a lot of lives. I was standing in combat watching the ship crush the walls in just thinking, this is the end of all of us. It was and still is absolutely unreal.

Full dispatch here. As usual, the comments tacked on at the end contain a wealth of insight.