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, March 23, 2007

HMS Tireless "Explosion" Details?

Reading the stories in the British press about the tragedy onboard the HMS Tireless in the Arctic this week, I've reached the conclusion that the Brit journalists are at least as sensationalistic as, if not moreso than, their American counterparts. Still, this article in The Herald seems to have some technical explanations for what happened that actually pass the initial "smell test". Excerpts:
Naval sources said yesterday the investigation team's initial findings pointed to a rapid build-up of pressure in the square-shaped Scog canister, which is designed to burn chlorate at high temperatures to produce lifesaving oxygen.
The sailors had set off one of the candles in the boat's forward escape compartment. The canister containing it blew up a few minutes later.
A naval source said: "These things are ignited by striking a primer and burn extremely hotly, giving off enough oxygen through vents in the canister to supply breathable air. A kilo of the chlorate releases enough oxygen to keep a man alive for six or seven hours.
"The chlorate candle is seeded with iron powder to bring the burn temperature to about 600C inside the container. It looks like the vents may have been blocked. It would go off like a grenade in that confined space."
The story mentions earlier that "SCOG" stands for "Self-Contained Oxygen Generator". After this fairly good start, though, it appears that the author of the article didn't quite understand his notes in one case:
The Scog system is used on exercises to produce oxygen when the attack boats are "running silent" to avoid detection by surface warships' sonar. The usual electrical air-conditioning system potentially produces enough noise to give away the submarine's position.
[Emphasis mine] It's a minor quibble with an otherwise good article (unless, of course, the A/C system aboard Trafalgar-class submarines also includes the "electrolyser" that seems to be the Brit equivalent of an Oxygen Generator.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ain't this the same technology used in OBA's (do they still use them on the boats?), and if I remember right, (at least back when I was in circa 77-81) our boats used to carry something along the same lines in the event both of the O2 Jennys going down (can't remember if they were called candles or not, but it sounds right)?

3/23/2007 12:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the update!


3/23/2007 4:24 PM

Blogger sundodger48 said...

Onboard the UK's submarine fleet there are various methods for controlling the atmoshere.Two electrolysers (lysers A & B) are the normal method for producing oxygen whilst the boat is submerged, pumping the oxygen into the ventilation system whilst discharing the hyrodgen overboard. Normally only one is ran at any one time. The atmosphere is mointored by CAMS (constant or continuous atmosphere mointoring system, my memory fails me or maybe it was the guiness last night)and for whatever reason, training, a drop in the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere it was decided to use an O2 candle. Over the last few years all boats have transferred over to the new SCOGS. The major differances between the candles are the shape, with the old being circular and the new being square. When using the old candles you remove the candle from the metal container in which it was housed, it then had a grease proof paper wrapped around it, which was carefully peeled away and the candle was inspected for defects. The candle was then loaded into the generator and set off. These candles had a habit of going on fire and producing Chlorine Gas. The new candles are kept within the metal container and are loaded into the generator and set off using the same method as the old candles. I can only speculate as to the cause of the sad event, maybe a defective candle which now can not be identified or a build in oxygen within the generator, i shall find out and intend to keep my distance from any running O2 generator for the time being. I wish to give my deepest symphanty to the families. An old custom in the RN is that fellow shipmates buy the deceased kit and the proceeds are given to the wife or family, may the lads onboard have deep pockets.

3/24/2007 8:40 AM

Blogger kelly said...

My fiance is on HMS Tireless, and i have to say that seen as it is a sneaky sub you wouldn't want much of a comprehensive explaintion and luckily for the English press they didn't give one. I was just wondering if you could be more specific as to who the "stupid" are?

4/01/2007 5:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son is on Tireless and it may seem a bit silly in the days of the world wide web and satelite TV but I think sometimes being cautious with information in the press etc. is to be appreciated.
However going against my own advice I would add that similar candles are used in a number of situation and are not limited to submarines. I also would like to know exactly whom you are saying is stupid

4/02/2007 1:57 PM

Blogger sundodger48 said...

Ladies, the author is not calling anyone onboard the boat stupid, its his title for all boggs "The Stupid Shall Be Punished 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".

4/03/2007 5:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul McCann was a good friend of mine for many years, and after meeting a lot of the Tireless crew at his funeral yesterday I just wanted to say what a great bunch of blokes the crew are. Thank you to all of them for there time, patience and understanding with us, and a special mention to JACKO, DUGGIE and Flash who summed up the whole feeling amongst the crew for Paul and Anthony. I feel immensely proud to know people like these protect us and we should sleep safely at night in that knowledge. God bless you all

4/06/2007 3:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am currently searving on HMS Tireless and after the scog accident at first i was scared and wanted to leave the submarine service my first trip and 2 people die who wouldnt want to leave but then seeing the profesionalism of everybody on board and bravery shown it made me rethink my plans so here i am now a qualified submariner and living the dream and i wear my dolphines with pride

7/13/2007 12:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duggie what a prick! i fucked his wife

8/23/2007 12:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re the above... thats nothing to boast about - she weighs about 3 tonnes!

10/31/2007 6:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re the above 2 comments

How grown up are those brave enough to post blogs on the internet, yet keep there identity hidden, obviously not from someone serving on hms tireless, not anymore anyway.I hope that writing the above mssages after such a tragic incident which effected lots of people in different ways, has made you feel really really good about yourselves. you have certainly made yourselves look awesome. well done!!!!!!


12/29/2007 11:15 AM

Anonymous Marsha said...

Surely, the guy is totally just.

9/01/2012 3:37 AM


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