"Damn, those look just like mines," thought the commanding officer of the Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58), steaming in the Persian Gulf in 1988. Following standard procedures, he immediately ordered "All stop," and sounded General Quarters. The ship slowed and began to back down while the crew prepared to launch the ship's helicopter to mark the mine positions. Rough seas swung the ship into a mine that blew a 20-foot hole in her hull, broke the keel, threw the main engines off their mounts, and flooded the main engine room. After securing the ship, the order went out to increase manning on the bow watch and to use searchlights to identify any remaining mines. Ultimately, the ship had to be lifted back to the United States; it took 18 months and $96 million to repair the damage caused by a single MOS moored contact mine—worth an estimated $1,500.
The (R)evolution of Mine Countermeasures
By Captain Buzz Broughton, U.S. Navy and Commander Jay Burdon, U.S. Navy