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Navy Missile Strikes Oil Tanker; No Injuries

July 30, 1986

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ An unarmed missile fired by a Navy F-14 fighter slammed into an oil-laden tanker 60 miles off the coast, but no injuries or leaks were reported.

The Navy was investigating why the Sidewinder air-to-air missile hit the 600-foot tanker Western Sun on Tuesday.

The missile, which has a range of more than 10 miles, caused a small fire in the ship’s superstructure, but the crew quickly extinguished it and the vessel continued its voyage, said Lt. Cmdr. Bill Sonntag, an Atlatic Fleet spokesman.

The Sun Co. tanker, had left Marcus Hook, Pa., early Tuesday for Nederland, Texas, Sonntag said.

The 86-pound missile drilled a 2 1/2 -foot hole above the ship’s waterline, but none of the 26,000 barrels of lubricating oil it was carrying leaked, he said.

The Navy had warned shippers on July 24 that week-long training flights were to begin Monday, said Lt. Peter Virok of the 5th Coast Guard District Operations Center in Portsmouth.

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