Navy warships avoid collision

| December 2, 2022

The USS Momsen (DDG-92) and the USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) approached each other in what would have been a “head on” or “near head on” collision in San Diego Bay. the USS Momsen was entering while the USS Harpers Ferry was on its way out. Following maritime rules of the road, each ship turned to port to avoid a collision. The Navy is investigating this incident.

From The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Video shared on Twitter by San Diego Webcam shows the moment the guided-missile destroyer Momsen, entering the harbor, approaches the exiting dock landing ship Harper’s Ferry. The ships appear to be heading directly toward each other before the 544-foot Momsen makes a hard turn to port, or left, to avoid the larger, 610-foot Harper’s Ferry.

Harper’s Ferry also turns to port, although the ship is not as nimble as the smaller destroyer. The ships slip past each other without incident.

A longer video published by San Diego Webcam Wednesday on its Youtube channel shows the Harper’s Ferry making a tight turn to port as it rounds North Island, hugging the left side of the channel.

The Momsen begins its turn starboard until it’s heading directly toward the Harper’s Ferry. It then makes its turn to avoid the ship.

The near-miss appears to have occurred in a narrow section of the channel between Naval Base Point Loma and Naval Air Station North Island, according to the video.

A 3rd Fleet spokesperson in San Diego confirmed the ships were in close vicinity and said the Navy is investigating the incident.

“Both ships maneuvered to safety,” said Lt. Samuel Boyle in an email. “There were no injuries or damage to the ships as a result of those maneuvers.”

According to international inland navigation rules, vessels approaching one another are required to stay to the right and pass one another on the left.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has the rest of the story here.

Here is the video of the incident as posted on Twitter:

Here is a longer video, posted on YouTube:

Category: Navy

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Somebody gots some ‘splainin’ to do. Damn a buncha Sunday Drivers…on a Wednesday. “Hard a-port! NO, Dumbass, your other port!”

Forest Bondurant

That was a crossing situation, not meeting. Neither vessel has a clear-cut right-of-way in a meeting situation. Each is expected to alter course to starboard so that they pass port side to port side.

At night, you will recognize a head-on meeting situation if you see both red and green side lights at the same time.

Heh. “Red on the right, die of fright.”

Bubblehead Ray

“Emergency Deep!”😳


You have one job helmsman and OOD. Don’t hit shit.


Once you drink all the wine the only thing left is port.

Hack Stone

The Sailors steering the ships had to step away and leave the bridges unattended to attend mandatory Diversity Equity and Inclusion training.

Hack Stone

Traditionally, naval vessels are referred to as She/Her. Under the current adminisration, do warships get to chose their own personal pronouns?

George V

My NROTC days are long in the past and recent experience is just a Power Squadron course so I probably don’t know what I am talking about. But….

Looking at the longer video, it appeared that the Harper’s Ferry, after passing the inbound LHA in a normal port-to-port manner, swung too much to port and into the North Island side of the channel, thereby setting up the potential collision with the Momsen. The Harper’s Ferry is closer to the red buoy indicating the edge of the channel, the edge on the North Island side. When the camera zooms out you can see the black buoy indicating the far side of the channel way over on our left (HF’s starboard).

Making a starboard side passing is not normal at all from what I remember.


I believe you can pass to either side, so long as you communicated early on with the other vessel your intentions and both agree on it.

Generally I try and always turn to stbd and go port to port, or “meeting on one whistle,” as US mariners like to say in domestic waters.


When squids play chicken… 😉 


Never play gay chicken with a squid


Coulda been worse; lessons learned, one hopes (that means IF all concerned were beached, THEY WOULDN’T LEARN anything, capisce?)


This guy does a decent breakdown of the incident.


Great find, thanks.


I’ve caught him a few times myself, and he seems to be on the ball.