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THE U.S. Navy is investigating the collision between a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer and a Panamanian-flagged Japanese oil tanker along the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf over the weekend.
The commander of the destroyer, the USS Porter, is Guam native Martin Arriola. It is not known what caused the collision. A full inquiry is still being conducted including interviews with Arriola and the sailors who were on-duty at the time it occurred.
The destroyer reportedly collided with the M/V Otowasan and left a breach of about 3x3 meters in the starboard side of the Navy vessel. There were no injuries reported.
Photos of the scene from the international news wires show workers standing around twisted metal and debris hanging from a hole on the side.
The Navy stresses the collision was not “combat-related” nor were there any spills or leakages from either vessel. The USS Porter sailed to a port in Jebi Ali, United Arab Emirates, for an assessment of the damage and repairs.
The destroyer is currently on scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet, which is situated in the Gulf island nation of Bahrain, which is near Iran. The destroyer was to be deployed in the fleet’s area of responsibility and participate in maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts.
Arriola is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering. He worked for the Exxon Corporation in Guam after graduation as a bulk fuels terminal supervisor, then entered active duty service in 1995.
His naval career spans from assignments to the USS George Washington to his current role aboard the USS Porter. He has been decorated for his achievements, including the defense meritorious service medal, the Navy commendation medal (three awards), and the joint service achievement medal.