NORFOLK, Va. – Eleven Marines were injured when a piece of munitions exploded in a trash can aboard the USS Saipan (search) in the Persian Gulf, the ship's commanding officer said Thursday.
One Marine received a bad arm wound in the explosion Wednesday evening and was operated on by the ship's surgeon, then taken to a field hospital in Kuwait, Capt. Norma L. Hackney said in a statement e-mailed to families of those aboard the Norfolk-based ship and posted on the Saipan's Web site.
"This morning, the report is very favorable," Hackney said. "He is stable and will be transferred to the hospital in Germany."
The rest of the Marines had minor injuries, she said.
The explosion occurred in a sleeping area, piercing a bulkhead and injuring people in the adjacent compartment, the Navy's Fifth Fleet (search) in Bahrain said in a statement.
Hackney said more information would be released when an investigation is completed. Lt. j.g. Joshua Frey, a Fifth Fleet spokesman, told WVEC-TV of Norfolk the explosion did not appear to be an act of sabotage.
Telephone calls and an e-mail to the Fifth Fleet seeking additional comment were not immediately returned.
The sailors and Marines on the ship "performed superbly during the events last night," Hackney said. "This morning, we have contemplated last night's events and we are more than ever focused on safety. Overall, the crew remains upbeat and in good spirits."
The Marines are part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based at Camp Lejeune (search), N.C., and were deployed to the Gulf in support of the ongoing war on terrorism and the American-led war in Iraq. The names of the injured soldiers were not released.
The amphibious assault ship deployed from Norfolk Naval Station on Jan. 10 and has nearly 3,000 sailors and Marines on board.