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, September 21, 2005

Philadelphia CO Relieved?

Word on the street is that the CO of USS Philadelphia, CDR Steve Oxholm, is being relieved as a result of the collision of his boat with M/V Yaso Aysen northeast of Bahrain two weeks ago. I earlier discussed the collision here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. This action was apparently taken following an Admiral's Mast with CTF 54, RADM John Bird, where Captain Oxholm was found guilty of a violation of UCMJ Art. 110, Hazarding a Vessel. Supposedly Capt. Robert Brennan, Deputy Commander of CSS-2, has taken command of Philly until they can get a new CO assigned.

Two other officers were apparently also re-assigned off the boat as a result of the collision.

Staying at PD...

Update 1337 21 Sep: The AP story is out on the 'net.

Update 0530 22 Sep: The New London Day story is on the 'net (for the next day, unless you register, then you get a week). It not only doesn't say the Philly "slammed" into the freighter (like the AP story), it also points out that the merchant was most likely at fault:

"Aysen apparently ran right up over the back of the submarine, scraping along the starboard side of the hull, the fairwater plane, the rudder and the housing for the towed sonar array, the sources said. At least one blade on the propeller was also damaged.
"Aysen's hull had a 100-foot-long rip just above the waterline. Both ships made it to port under their own power.
"Under international maritime “rules of the road,” any vessel overtaking another must yield the right of way, so legally the Philadelphia might be in the clear, but Navy sources have said even if Philadelphia had the right of way Oxholm is expected to keep his vessel safe.
“The people who command submarines are held to incredibly high standards,” [CSS-2 Commander] Steed acknowledged. Oxholm “has accepted responsibility for his crew's actions in this case, and has done so with a great deal of dignity and professionalism.”

Going deep...

Update 2047 22 Sep: Longer-lasting version of the story from The Day is here, 2nd story down. I'm also hearing rumors that the two other officers reassigned were pretty senior, but don't want to say anything specific until I hear some more...


Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Too bad, but not overly suprising. He is going to have to bear some of the culpability for the collision (as well as the Nav and OOD - I am guessing those are the reassigned officers).

On a slightly different note, when oh when will the press stop saying that, "The Groton-based USS Philadelphia was traveling on the surface of the Gulf on Sept. 5 when it slammed into the bulk carrier M/V Yaso Aysen."

It got run over people! It was the slam-ee! Sheesh, it is always our fault...

9/21/2005 3:15 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I honestly have no idea who the other two were, but I'd guess the OOD and either the Contact Coordinator or the CDO, if one was assigned.

9/21/2005 3:20 PM

Anonymous Bernie said...

If there was ever a case where a collision at sea should not have ended an officers career, this should have been it. The overtaking vessel struck the sub.
While the "Law of the sea" might absolve the Philly's CO, the nuclear navy doesn't see it that way. A collision ocurred, his fault, the other vessels fault, nobody'd fault....The CO is responsible. Every Officer knows full and well long before he ever recieves his comission that a collision at sea is the ultimate career killer. The fact that the sub force is still drawing down and that there is a long list of PCO's waiting for a command doesn't help much either.

9/21/2005 7:17 PM

Anonymous EW3 said...

Was on sea and anchor on a surface ship and am a navigator on a sailboat.
The skipper on the SF got screwed. The skipper on the Philadelphia was at fault. I sail around major bulk carriers and oil tankers all the time. They can't see you down there. Right in front of a major ship is a blind spot. Any good sailor knows that.
The Philadelphia simply did a lot of wrong things (no radar?, stern lookout?, OOD, XO and skipper not watching what is going on?)

9/22/2005 11:18 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


I can pretty much guarantee that they in fact DID have their radar up and operating, at least their commercial radar, and probably their AN/BPS-15 system as well.

Stern lookout? There is only one sail on a sub. They had at least one lookout up there, probably two. Plus they had at least one periscope manned, two if they had the piloting party stationed.

Merchies may have a "blind spot", but overtaking is overtaking - it is the merch's responsibility to give way when overtaking.

The Philly undoubtedly bears some blame, as I discussed in the comments of these posts, but the bulk of the blame goes to the Merch.


See the posts I linked above. Yeah, the Merch is largely to blame, but the Philly still bears some blame, too. This is not just a "nuclear Navy" thing, despite how much you like to bash the Nukes. This is a basic rules of the road thing.

9/22/2005 12:13 PM

Anonymous Bernie said...

Bashing the nuclear navy?
Since when is stating the facts bashing?
The nuclear navy demands 100% perfection 100% of the time. Any slip ups are severly punished.

Not so much bashing as no longer agreeing with their cause. When I had enough, I remvoved my Dolphins and put them on the XO's desk. I finished my 20 (Actually did another 13 years) in reserve EOD for a total of 26 years service.
During those last 13 years, I never even possesed a set of Dolphons much less wore them.
That is simpky the way the nuclear Navy is. not bashing, not insulting, just stating the facts.

9/22/2005 7:51 PM


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