Video: Two Royal Navy warships collide in Bahrain after ‘wiring error’
The Royal Navy is investigating after one of its minesweepers collided with another in Bahrain, when a wiring error inadvertently sent the vessel into reverse.
Military sources have confirmed that faulty rewiring was to blame for the embarrassing gaffe, which involved the minehunter HMS Chiddingfold moving backwards and crashing into HMS Bangor, which was lying at port.
The collision, seen in the video above, ripped a hole in a cabin above the waterline. No injuries have been reported.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the incident did not reflect ‘incompetence’ after the Navy confirmed it was launching an investigation on Friday (19 January 2024).
But naval sources said on Sunday they believed the cause of the accident was a simple rewiring error in a recently inspected vessel.
Speaking to the Guardian, a navy insider reveals: “HMS Chiddingfold’s motor was wired incorrectly and full ahead gave full astern.”
Images taken from aboard the vessel after the collision and circulating on social media show a hole in the side of a kitchen cabin (pictured above) and damage to sleeping berths (pictured below). Other images show a large rip to the vessel’s exterior along its pennant number, M109 (pictured top).
Both vessels are based in the Gulf and are designed to seek out and eliminate sea mines as part of Britain’s naval presence in the area — recently strengthened in light of the Red Sea crisis.
The Ministry of Defence has declined to officially comment on the causes of the accident, saying its investigation was continuing. However, Shapps has denied that the crash between the two warships was a product of incompetence.
“We don’t say it’s incompetence when we see an aircraft come down” he told Sky News. “A very rare occasion just as this would be a rare occasion. It’s right to leave the investigators some time to work out exactly what’s gone wrong.”
It’s not the first incident involving the 1,000-tonne Chiddingfold. In April 2021, the vessel struck HMS Penzance — a ship of the same class as Bangor — and was out of action for three months under repair.
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