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.)

Friday, January 27, 2006

German Submarine Down?

[Intel Source: The Sub Report] I'm not sure how much stock to put in this single-source report that the German Type 206A submarine U-15 is stuck on the seafloor with a crew of 22:

"The German Navy 206A class submarine U-15 has taken the ground in the Eckernfoerde bay, the Baltic Sea, RIA Novosti reports. U-15 got into trouble in obscured conditions, roughly 150 meters to the southern edge of the bay, when getting back to the military base in submerged mode.
"No one of the crew’s 22 sailors has suffered in the accident, according to the preliminary data.

"Emergency services of the German submarine base are getting ready to rescue the vessel.The German Navy has twelve 206-206A class submarines. No longer than 48.6 meters and with displacement of around 500 tons, U-15 is the smallest of all combat submarines, which are in the operational service. Another peculiarity is the capacity to run in the shallow water, just 20 meters would be enough for it."

This report comes from a Russian online paper; it says the reports come from the Russian news agency RIA, but their website doesn't have anything as of 0700 MST.

Anyway, in case the story is true, here's some background info on U-15 from the German Navy website, and here's the website of the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office, which would coordinate any international response. The location of the reported bottoming is a bay near Kiel in the Baltic; here's a small map showing the depth contours:

As always, if this turns out to be for real, you can expect the best updates and analysis over at our group submarine blog Ultraquiet No More.

Staying at PD...

Update 1740 27 Jan: Alex at The Noonz Wire has been following the story all day, and reports that the submarine was freed after six hours. From a translation of a German report:

"A German submarine on a training exercise ran aground in the Eckernfoerd Bay. None of the 22-man crew were injured as the U-15 waited to be freed. The incident, in the Baltic Sea, lasted six hours until the submarine was refloated.
"An initial inspection indicated the boat was undamaged. However, divers performed a standard inspection [literally, "examined the averages"] Friday morning.
"The surfaced and moving submarine was near Aschau at dawn, about 150 meters from the shore of the Baltic Sea. The cause of the accident is still unknown. A Navy spokesman said it will be investigated to determine whether human error or a technical defect was involved.The Navy said a submarine of an older design was involved. It is about 50 meters long and displaces 500 tons. The U-15 returned to Eckenfeord Bay in December from a six month anti-terrorist deployment in the Mediterranean."

The "ran aground" part makes a lot more sense than the initial report, which indicated that the sub had been operating in "submerged mode" only 150 meters from shore. I know the Norwegians do it in their deep-water fjords, and the Type 206A's are pretty small, but that would have been pretty ballsy to be submerged so shallow...


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