U.S. Navy's Nuclear Submarine Collides With Underwater Object

  • Our Bureau
  • 05:08 AM, October 8, 2021
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U.S. Navy's Nuclear Submarine Collides With Underwater Object
USS Connecticut (SSN-22) submarine @U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy’s USS Connecticut (SSN 22) Seawolf-class nuclear-powered submarine struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.

A number of sailors on board the submarine were injured in the accident but there were no life threatening injuries, the Navy said in a statement.

The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational.

The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The incident will be investigated, the service said.

USS Connecticut can accommodate 140 crew including 14 officers. Seawolf vessels are “quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors”. They also have eight torpedo tubes.

Brings Back Memories of the Deadly USS San Francisco Accident

The Navy’s USS San Francisco Los Angeles–class submarine hit an undersea mountain about 675km southeast of Guam in 2005. It was at a depth of about 160m and skipping along at a crisp 48kmph.

The collision was so serious that the vessel was almost lost; accounts detail a desperate struggle for positive buoyancy to surface after the forward ballast tanks were ruptured. San Francisco's sonar dome was severely damaged, but its pressure hull was not breached and there was no damage to her nuclear reactor.

The seamount that San Francisco struck did not appear on the chart in use at the time of the accident, but other charts available for use indicated an area of "discolored water", an indication of the probable presence of a seamount.

The Navy concluded that "several critical navigational and voyage planning procedures" were not being implemented aboard the submarine.

San Francisco's captain Commander Kevin Mooney was relieved of his duties after the incident. Six crewmen received non-judicial punishment hearings for hazarding a vessel and dereliction of duty, and they were reduced in rank and given letters of reprimand. Twenty other officers received awards and appreciated for their actions in the crisis.

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