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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 02:22 GMT 03:22 UK
QE2 bumps Japanese warship
4 July festivities in New York
Coastguard officials were prepared for a maritime 'traffic jam'
The luxury ocean liner, the QE2, has been involved in a minor collision with a Japanese warship which then hit a British warship off New York.

The collision occurred while the QE2 was leaving its mooring on the west side of Manhattan in preparation for a transatlantic crossing.

All three vessels had taken part in US Independence Day maritime festivities the previous day.

The United States Coastguard is investigating the incident, but a spokesman said no one had been injured and the vessels had only suffered slight damage.

Tall ship sails past the statue of liberty
The sail past celebrated a long tradition of seafaring
The manoeuvre was complicated by the fact that Manhattan's piers are packed end-to-end with hundreds of ships, in New York for the week-long maritime event.

Damage

As the passenger ship made its way off the dock, it collided with the Kashima, a Japanese warship, which in turn hit the British warship, the HMS Manchester.

Damage was slight, including scraped paint and a broken railing on the QE2.

"It is not an unusual occurrence. It was nothing more than a touch," said an official with the US Coastguard.

The incident has not delayed the QE2's departure from New York.

Operation Sail 2000 - the biggest gathering of ships ever seen in peace time - was the highlight of 4 July celebrations and involved 150 tall ships from 50 countries, 40 modern warships and up to 70,000 pleasure craft.

Four million spectators, including US President Bill Clinton, watched the event on Independence Day.

With so many vessels in New York's harbour, US coastguard officials were well prepared for what they expected could be the maritime equivalent of a massive traffic jam.

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04 Jul 00 | Americas
In pictures: Operation Sail 2000
04 Jul 00 | Americas
Tall ships mark Independence Day
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