Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pictures of USS San Francisco Pierside

Donmac was kind enough to let me link to 4 pictures he obtained of the San Francisco pierside in Guam. The top two pictures show how low she's riding in the bow; the front end of the towed array fairing is essentially in the water. The frothing in the water is from air being forced into the forward ballast tanks to keep the water level in the ballast tank as low as possible. The air pressure is either coming from the ship's Low Pressure air blower, or, more likely, a temporary system they have hooked up being supplied from the pier. The capstan is up just aft of the forward hydophone; this isn't normal, but it could have been used in mooring, since the ship was riding so low forward, or it could have been damaged in the collision (I think the former is more likely).

Going deep...


Blogger Andy said...

Yeah, i've stood topside on the san fran, it's still very low in the water even with the LP Blow. Seems kind of dangerous to sit pierside like that for days on end needing to blow the MBTs. I wonder how long until they get her into drydock.

I wonder if Guam has a drydock or a floating drydock like Groton's ARDM-4.

1/12/2005 11:32 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I'm pretty sure they don't have a drydock there; San Fran spent a few months in the Arco (ARDM 5) in San Diego last year getting the shaft changed out. Guam does have the sub tender Frank Cable (AS 40). The shipyard at Pearl would have a drydock, but I'm not sure how full it is with boats undergoing some long modernization; my guess would be that San Fran would jumped to the front of the line, though...

1/13/2005 6:42 AM

Blogger CDR Salamander said...

Thanks for the pic's, I'll ref them on an update to my post below.

If you are interested, I posted COMSUBPAC's email to his fellow Flag Officers at CDR Salamander. No cloak and dagger, it is out there on a billion email chains already.

1/13/2005 7:22 AM

Blogger cjvandis said...

I wonder if the San Fran will end up going the way of some of her older siblings and end up in Washinton awaiting the scrap heap. I have to admit, I would be leary of diving a wrecked boat. Looking at the picture, it sure seems like the hull is wrinkled. It would take a lot to verify that all the welds, fittings, and structural members don't have small cracks that could fail at depth.

1/13/2005 10:22 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Obviously we don't have any pictures of the underwater portions of the boat, but my guess on if she'll have to decom would be "no". If the pressure hull were damaged, it'd be a different matter, but remember the bow portion of a sub, containing the sonar sphere and ballast tanks, is a "free-flood" area outside of the pressure hull. On an LA class boat, the pressure hull ends about 30 feet forward of the front end of the sail, and is actually further back at the bottom of the boat. (The pressure hull is basically a cylinder with hemispherical ends).

1/13/2005 10:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might add something to the discussion, or not.

#2 shutter door is rolled back and folded, #4 is accordianed into the recess, the port ejection pump is gone. MBT 3B is the only mbt not breached forward. The sonar dome is completely gone, the retaining ring was thrust so hard it cut into the superstructure of the mbts-hy80. The sonar sphere is crushed, and almost removed from the bulkhead it is mounted to, the tube is folded to it. There are at least 3 ripples in the mbt superstructure on the starboard side, that tells me the transition tube to the dome is folded. MBT 1a/b are almost smashed flat, 2b is torn, air bank 2 is breached. The port torpedo tubes may be damaged from the shutter doors. I also wonder about the hull weld on the sonar sphere access tube, and the hull pens for tt 2/4 shutter door operators.

1/13/2005 12:18 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

If this description is accurate, I'd say they were lucky, and skilled, to get back to the surface. Also, if true, I'd say there's going to be a drydock tied up for a year or so...

1/13/2005 1:16 PM

Blogger DarkoV said...

As a non-Navy kind of guy, I was fascinated how the San Francisco was able to even survive the collision especially since it was reportedly clipping along @ 30 knots. Was it luck that it didn't sink? Or was it a combination of captain and crew and the construction of the submarine that it was able to make it back to port? Your response ora blog on this topic would be most appreciated. Somehow, I can't think of a Russian sub surviving such a serious accident.
Thanks. First time visitor to your blog and I'm enjoting the content.

1/14/2005 6:44 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

My best guess would be that it was a combination of the skill of the crew in carrying out their casualty actions and the superior design and construction techniques employed. Had any of the thousands of seawater-carrying piping welds given out as a result of the stress, the casualty could have been much worse. I was always surprised with the Kursk how the supposedly watertight bulkhead sprung leaks so quickly. The one this the Kursk and San Francisco did share, though, were dedicated and professional crews.

1/14/2005 7:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an x-aganger/COW/DOW on two LA Class Subs (La Jolla and Chicago), there may be some issues with the repairs. First, when was the last re-fueling. If the boat has not been re-fueled then the Navy might just scrap her. Second, which boats are the Navy thinking of de-commissioning next. It might forgo a de-commission, keep it and decom the 711.
My prayers go out to the sailors on that boat. I have been through fire, flooding and death on boats but not to the extent the 711 experienced. I hope all goes well for them. It never ceases to amaze me that people with absolutely no experience can have such profound thoughts as to what would-a, could-a, should-a happened.

1/24/2005 2:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, am an x-aganger/COW/DOOW on 5 boats (2 688s) now a contractor and currently in Guam, I can shed some light on the future. San Fran sits in the Guam Shipyard drydock right now and will stay there for a month while temp repairs are completed. This was a one time sub docking in GSY's drydock. They have large tarps hanging over the ends of the dock otherwise I could post pics. After repairs she will then head to Bremerton, on the surface of course, where the front end of the Atlanta will replace the damaged area.
San Fran was refueled about 20 months ago in Norfolk Naval SY.
They did run the LP Blower for a few days until they could get tophats on and use a pier air source.
I am friends with the MMCS who was standing DOOW when this happened. The story will make your hair stand up if you are a true submariner.

1/28/2005 6:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes they have a dry dock here in guam. no i do not beilve that they will stay here. and if they leave i dont think that they will be submurging any time soon. it would be dumb to do so. we are all just glad they came back all of the wifes are very thankful. it was a very scary event. but we know that the sailors are well trained and the best that i know. getting back to guam proves my point. but i think god had a hand in this to but from what i know the people who run the boat were still yelling orders as they hit to blow i belive that there reaciton time is what got them to the surface and im so happy for that. but all in all that boat is bleased and we are very happy that not more people were hurt. my thanks and regrets go out to genral cooter he was well loved and we will miss him very much.
"a wife of a sailor"

2/05/2005 8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is one of the navigators who got assigned to replace the guys who got fired for this mishap...Let's pray it never happens again, and he can do his job better than they could. You're right, it's headed to Bremerton by September. I hate this Navy separation crap!

7/01/2005 3:33 PM


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