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Severely Damaged US Nuclear Sub Seen For First Time Since October Collision

Severely Damaged US Nuclear Sub Seen For First Time Since October Collision

On Sunday the US Navy’s nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS Connecticut was spotted and photographed for the first time since its Oct.2 collision with a seamount while maneuvering in the South China Sea. It pulled into San Deigo’s harbor after transiting the Pacific Ocean on the surface due, given it suffered severe damage in the incident, details of which are still being kept secret.

The collision left eleven crew members injured and led to the vessel’s commander being relieved of duty. Further, damage to the sub’s sonar dome left it unable to travel underwater, cutting its mission short for emergency repairs in Guam before the longer trip back to the US West Coast. Importantly, photographs of the sub being escorted into San Diego by tow boats show extensive damage to the bow

A report in US Naval Institute News says the USS Connecticut is ultimately due for extensive repairs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Washington.

It’s pulling into San Diego suggests it could be more worse shape than previously thought. Or it could mean the bulk remaining crew members are disembarking prior to last leg the journey back to Washington.

No less than three commanders have at this point been relieved of duty aboard the vessel due to “loss of confidence” by the 7th Fleet. “Connecticut commanding officer Cmdr. Cameron Aljilani, executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Cashin and Chief of the Boat Cory Rodgers were removed from their positions at the direction of U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Karl Thomas,” the Navy identified in a statement last month.

The action was taken “due to loss of confidence. Thomas determined sound judgement, prudent decision-making, and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning, watch team execution and risk management could have prevented the incident,” according to the statement.

China is in the meantime still demanding answers, citing the potential for dangerous radioactive debris in waters near its coast

China’s Foreign Ministry weeks ago underscored that the United States “has yet to give clear answers to questions like the intention of the operation, the exact location of the incident, whether it lies in the exclusive economic zone or territorial sea of any country, and whether the collision led to a nuclear leak or polluted the marine environment, all causing great concern and doubt.”

For starters, Beijing has been demanding to know the exact location where the collision took place. But it appears the Navy is still scrambling to nail down the facts, pending an investigation into what was the biggest submarine disaster in many years:

The collision also lead the Navy’s submarine forces to call for a “navigational stand down” last month.

“We have very rigorous navigation safety procedures and they fell short of what our standard was,” Naval Submarine Forces commander Vice Adm. William Houston said of the boat’s leadership last month.

Likely, on this occasion of the vessel reaching the US coast, China will again repeat its call for US naval transparency on the accident. Initially there was even speculation over whether the submarine had encountered an enemy vessel or some other hostile incident. 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 12/13/2021 – 13:46

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