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Attack submarine hits vessel in Med

By PAMELA HESS, Pentagon correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. submarine bumped another vessel when it was approaching the surface in the Mediterranean Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar Wednesday around 1:30 p.m. GMT. No injuries were reported, the Navy's Sixth Fleet said.

The 360-foot, 6,900-ton USS Oklahoma City "came into brief contact with another vessel" when it was rising to a depth from which it could use its periscope. The Oklahoma City surfaced, located a nearby merchant vessel and attempted to make radio contact. The merchant vessel did not respond and departed the area.

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The damage to the nuclear-powered Oklahoma City is apparently limited to the submarine's periscope and sail area.

On Feb. 9, 2001, the submarine USS Greeneville was conducting an emergency surfacing drill when it rammed a Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Hawaii, sinking the Ehime Maru and killing nine on board, most of them teenagers. The Greeneville failed to see the Ehime Maru when it examined the surface with its periscope.

The Oklahoma City, a Los Angeles class attack submarine home ported in Norfolk, Va., will return to port for further inspection. An investigation is under way, the Navy said.

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