U.s. Ship Hits Mine 4 Sailors Hurt Near Iranian Island In Gulf

Posted: April 14, 1988

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Navy frigate on patrol in the Persian Gulf has apparently hit an underwater mine, Pentagon sources said today.

Defense Department spokesman Dan Howard said four American sailors were injured but that there were no fatalities. It remained unclear exactly how extensive the damage was.

"It appears that none of them (injuries) are life threatening" to the four seamen, Howard told reporters.

The officials identified the frigate as the USS Samuel B. Roberts. They said the ship "is in no danger of sinking."

The sources said the frigate was steaming in the vicinity of Farsi Island in the north central Persian Gulf, near the same area where a Kuwaiti tanker struck a mine last July during a U.S. convoy operation.

The sources said the frigate "hit something; we are assuming it was a mine."

The blast, which occurred at about 10:10 a.m. EDT, damaged the ship's engine, the engine room and caused some flooding.

Howard said that the flooding had been brought under control, that the ship was proceeding on emergency power and that a U.S. cruiser was headed for the Roberts.

The USS Roberts, one of the Oliver Hazard Perry class of frigates, was commissioned in April 1986. She has a normal complement of 13 officers and 193 enlisted men.

The Roberts would not be the first ship to strike an underwater mine since the Navy began escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the gulf last year.

Last July 21, the tanker Bridgeton hit a mine near Farsi Island, which Iranian naval forces have used as a base of operations against the Kuwaiti tankers.

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