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 20, 2009

USS Hartford Collides With U.S. Amphib Off Iran

CNN is reporting that USS Hartford (SSN 768) collided with USS New Orleans (LPD 18) in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, and that there were injuries aboard the submarine. Here's the news release from Fifth Fleet:
A U.S. Navy submarine and U.S. amphibious ship collided in the Strait of Hormuz early Friday morning, March 20, 2009.
The collision between USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) occurred at approximately 1:00 a.m. local time (5:00 p.m. EDT, March 19).
Fifteen sailors aboard the Hartford were slightly injured and returned to duty. No personnel aboard New Orleans were injured.
Overall damage to both ships is being evaluated. The propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision. New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine. Both ships are currently operating under their own power.
The incident is currently under investigation.
Obviously, there are no specifics out yet, but if the submarine had that many people injured, it's safe to assume she was going faster that you might expect a submarine to go at periscope depth; or, if she was at PD, that she got spun over fairly far onto her side before righting herself.

Our prayers are with our fellow Submariners and their families.

Staying at PD...

Update 0806 21 March: Here's a detail from a picture of USS Hartford on the surface released by the Navy:

Based on what we see in the picture (no 'scope up, lots of damage to the port side of the sail, possible twisting towards the starboard side), and based on the statement by the Navy in this Navy Times article that the Hartford was "submerged but near the surface", I'd say that the evidence is pointing towards the submarine being either at or transitioning to or from PD when the collision occurred. The fact that neither 'scope is up in the picture indicates that they can't be raised, so does this mean they were lowered when the collision occurred? This would make sense if the OOD had spotted the New Orleans and called for an "emergency deep"; the 'scope gets fully lowered much more quickly than the boat is able to get very deep (especially in shallow water.) If she got hit in the sail, then Hartford would have rolled on her side; the number of injuries make it seem that she would have rolled pretty far. Some commenters have guesses in the comments that I'm not able to refute at this point.

Staying at PD...

Update 0827 21 March: In this picture released by the Navy (check out the hi-res version for more detail), they appear to have the bridge manned, and have the National Ensign attached to the BRA-34 mast. That is really good news; no one wants to do a completely blind landing in Bahrain or wherever they're heading.

Update 1545 21 March: The Navy website has some more pictures of USS Hartford arriving in port at Bahrain, and all I can say is... wow; U.S. warships are certainly designed to keep operating even with substantial damage. You can see the pictures of the Hartford here, here, here and here. Pictures of USS New Orleans, which don't show any obvious damage like the ones of the Hartford, can be found here, here, and here. BZ to the Navy for releasing these pictures; if we have nothing to hide, as is the case here, there's no reason we can't let everyone know that's the case.

Update 0510 23 March: Strategy Page has a summary of the three "recent" submarine collisions in the SOH/Arabian Gulf. The comment thread here is becoming unwieldy, so I'm closing it; I think we've pretty much covered everything there is to discuss, absent more actual information being put out by the Navy.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could definitely crash my submarine into another ship. Where should I send my résumé?

3/20/2009 7:58 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

NNS revisited?

3/20/2009 8:18 AM

Blogger tshilson said...

Does anyone know the protocol for operating a Hartford-class vessel in a confined space like Hormuz? Thanks.

3/20/2009 8:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You see how the history of accidents and new ship yard problems are intermixing with each other with two different ships?

“On 25 October 2003 Hartford ran aground near La Maddalena in Sardinia with such force that rudders, sonar and other electronic equipment were severely damaged[1].”


After arriving in San Diego, New Orleans required 400,000 more hours of construction to bring it to fully operational status. Commander Scott Davies took command of the ship in June 2008.[1]

In August 2008, the ship flunked its INSURV inspection. The INSURV inspectors documented 2,600 deficiencies, including problems with the steering system, broken ventilation fans, inoperable elevators, corrosion on the flight deck, and an unreliable propulsion system. "USS New Orleans was degraded in her ability to conduct sustained combat operations," the INSURV report said. "The ship cannot support embarked troops, cargo or landing craft."[1]

US Navy officials reported that 85% of the deficiencies were minor issues and that most of the deficiencies have already been corrected. The Navy expects to send the ship on its first deployment, with the Boxer amphibious strike group, in early 2009.[1]

On 20 March 2009 New Orleans was involved in a collision with the submarine USS Hartford (SSN-768) in the Strait of Hormuz. Fifteen sailors on the Hartford suffered minor injuries and the fuel tank on the New Orleans was ruptured causing an oil spill of 25,000 gallons of diesel marine fuel. After the incident both vessels were able to continue under their own power.[4]

Mike Mulligan

3/20/2009 8:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hartford class vessel????

I hope you are joking.

The Hartford is a 688I class submarine. And Yes, I know the protocol. Will I share it, NO!

3/20/2009 8:39 AM

Blogger Submaster said...

Another early morning accident in the Straits of Hormuz. How many data points must be collected before the Modus Operandi is changed? Nothing good ever happens on the midwatch.

3/20/2009 8:45 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Yes, I'm VERY familiar with the "protocol" and, assuming they were submerged, will leave it at that.

3/20/2009 8:46 AM

Blogger tshilson said...

Not joking, just naive. This is second incident in Hormuz involving sub of which I am aware. Just curious why.

3/20/2009 8:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best thing is for anyone that actually has a not discuss this.

3/20/2009 8:50 AM

Blogger tshilson said...

I withdraw my comments.

3/20/2009 9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh well, time for the time honored tradition of heads rolling will commence.

3/20/2009 9:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was it really this Friday or was it really last Friday?

3/20/2009 9:12 AM

Anonymous nader paul kucinich gravel said...

The ghost of Hyman George Rickover lives:
Incompetent Shadowing AGAIN!

The Neocon Navy?

~ nuke puke

3/20/2009 9:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Friday (today). 0100 Friday in the SOH is 1700 East Coast, Thursday evening.

3/20/2009 9:37 AM

Anonymous Jen said...

This has alot more info with details.

3/20/2009 9:37 AM

Blogger retireddoc said...

Im a retired bubblehead and my son is currently onboard the Hartford. We are awaiting more news from the briefing that the families are getting. Please keep them all in your prayers. I certainly hope that the news that all the injuries were minor.

3/20/2009 9:56 AM

Blogger Buck said...

Bless all those who go into harm's way and an extra blessing for submariners.

@tshilson: It's considered a breach of operational security to speak of submarine details. This results in submariners laughing to themselves while they read the wild guesses of those who've never smelled amines. When a submariner tells you he won't discuss it, he's not being mean about it. It really is the Silent Service.

3/20/2009 10:04 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

According to the Initial and FOLUP reports (OPREPS), injuries were very minor, treated by the IDC and everyone is fit for and returned to full duty.

3/20/2009 10:05 AM

Blogger tshilson said...

@Buck -- Thanks. I was in the Air Force, understand security, and I wasn't offended. I just didn't realize that my question was inappropriate here. Thanks again.

3/20/2009 10:10 AM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Here, I'll say it right off the boat since he showed up.

Mike Mulligan. You're a raging, throbbing, retard.

Shut your face and cease your wild conjectures. This promises to be a good discussion, but it will probably become marred by your presence and your baseless, banal commentary.

Does us all the favor, go away.

and leave your dolphins (if you actually have them, as you claim) because you do a disservice to the brotherhood every time you touch a keyboard.

3/20/2009 10:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

FastNav - well said. Thank you for saving me the trouble.


3/20/2009 10:23 AM

Blogger BoomerRider said...

Navigation by Braille is rarely career-enhancing.

3/20/2009 10:31 AM

Blogger Derek said...

As a former STS2 and Deck LPO, I still do not understand how the boat did not see that big gray target moving towards them. They were on a surface transit for god's sake! How many lookout missed that one? Two scopes for the Nav team, sonar, ESM and Radar...OOD on the bridge...

Man, what a bunch of nubs..

3/20/2009 10:35 AM

Anonymous l-t said...

tshilson: You want the protocol that can be put in the clear? Here:

Don't run into crap.

It's true; ship's safety comes before every other mission requirement. If that means surfacing in the middle of a foreign carrier battle group, well...

Oh wait. Wrong country. Oops.

To HARTFORD: Keep your heads up, guys. I'm glad to hear you're all okay; unfortunately, you're about to get a lot of shoreside "help," and it's going to hurt.

3/20/2009 10:35 AM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Derek, you're assuming they were on the surface.

I don't know what happened here, but I know that I've never heard of anyone doing a surface transit through the Strait because it requires an escort. You're usually PD or deep (as deep as you can get in the Strait, which isn't very...)

3/20/2009 10:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see here:

-Shallow water acoustics
-choke point
-bow null
-surface suction
-5 billion trawlers

Maybe the Strait of Hormuz is just a bad place to be operating submerged in a 7,000 ton warship?

I'm no Nav, but it's hard to see a good place to hang out in there:

3/20/2009 10:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Navy Times article says USS Hartford was submerged. Don't know if she was at PD or not though.
Either way there are probably no new LL's here, most likely human error from an inexperienced team on the midwatch.

3/20/2009 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you ever try to do a pax or supplies transfer in that area at night? Or would that just be stupid?

3/20/2009 10:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because it's dangerous doesn't mean we don't operate there. The job is dangerous and stuff goes bad, you live and learn hopefully.

3/20/2009 10:57 AM

Blogger Chief Razor said...

The fact that this submarine collided with little or no injuries speaks volumes of this crew's submarining. Things like stowage, cleanliness and overall good seamanship are key. This is a very difficult transit and shuld never be taken as routine, no matter how many times you have done. It is worth saying however, that this is one of the sharpest crews I have ever seen and that there is no doubt in my mind they had taken all measures appropriate to approach this transit.
My hat is off to the mighty Hartford for its resilience and ability to perform in this time of crisis.

3/20/2009 11:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the wife of a former submariner(we just got out last fall), I know very well that this is something everyone dreads! I am glad to hear that everyone had only minor injuries, but it is still a major event in the lives of these sailors and their families. The crew and their families are in our prayers!

To all you who criticize, I just have to say that you weren't there, you don't know what happened. Stop speculating at the expense of others! If you want to solve these problems, then go through nuclear power school, serve on several ships, become a captain, and then create processes that help prevent accidents like this! Armchair quarterbacking never solved anything.

3/20/2009 11:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fast Nav,

You said: “Mike Mulligan. You're a raging, throbbing, retard.”

I see you guys in the submarine fleet aren’t too sensitive to those with a mental disability. Have you seen the response to president Obama making a bowling joke on the J Leno Show, where Obama says he bowls like a special Olympian or special Olympics?

He is rightfully getting hammered on belittling anyone with a mental disability. It is doing much good though, because it’s all sensitizing us to how not to belittle and humiliate those with a mental illness or special needs.

"President Obama is sorry about special Olympic joke."

"But, Shriver noted, “I think it’s important to see that words hurt and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seem as humiliating or a put-down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes.”"

Fast Nav, I wish you would think up a better word to curse me with than “retard”? I know you got it in you.

Mike Mulligan

3/20/2009 11:09 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

She was indeed at PD. NOL (Literally) had no idea what hit her until she saw HAR on the surface 3500 yds away. For those who have not been thru there, a SOH transit is a *Really* *Big* *Deal*. Modified Piloting Party, extra FT's, ST's and JO's up and about, a CDO stationed, a DOOW who knows what he's about, the whole 9 yards. Neither the time nor the place to put an inexperienced watch team. That said......well, that said.

3/20/2009 11:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well-said Chief Razor!

3/20/2009 11:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so Mike Mulligan asks the community to come up with better words than "retard" with which to insult him.

In the immortal words of Farva -

"Chicken F*cker!"

Let the fun begin...

3/20/2009 11:16 AM

Blogger EM2 said...

Some coner probably fell asleep at the helm.

The injuries were probably a couple of nubs falling out of their torpedo room racks.

3/20/2009 11:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure there was plenty of nuclear training accomplished prior to the collision! Would be interested to see correlation between ORSE scores and collisions/groundings. USS San Francisco did great on ORSE then hit a sea mount. When will the submarine force realize that NR is the cancer that is killing the force?

3/20/2009 11:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is absolutely certain. There are two skippers who will soon be relieved of their commands and will never get another boat. The Navy accepts no excuses for crashing your boat into anything, much less another boat.

3/20/2009 11:26 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Way I read things, only one skipper. THAT one said "Oh $hit", while the other woke with a start saying "WTF?"

3/20/2009 11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan - the short bus is waiting for you, jerk.


3/20/2009 11:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mulligan,

Out of some sick sense of curiosity I went to your blog, and followed a link that led me to a photo of a mostly nude male (me thinks you're wearing a diaper in the photo)laying atop a bunch of questionable looking women, some also partially nude. I won't ask if the male in the photo is you since that would invite a response on your part. Instead, I'll just figure that the photo is indeed of you and that your conquest of so many women represents one of the high points of your life. And maybe posting the photo somehow makes up for the low point of your life, the day when you were kicked out of submarines and sent to an oiler out of Norfolk. Remember? That was the day when it became clear to the XO that no one was going to sign your qual card and you were simply incapable of getting qualified.

Maybe you are a retard, and maybe you're not a retard. One thing's sure, however, and that is that you are a TROLL....

3/20/2009 11:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Best thing is for anyone that actually has a not discuss this.

3/20/2009 8:50 AM

Good advice.


3/20/2009 11:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beware, there be trolls here...

My advice is:

Don't feed them.

3/20/2009 12:09 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

First, to retireddoc (and any other Harford or New Orleans family) who are reading on this blog, my heartfelt prayers go out for you and your loved ones. Please ignore any insensitive comments that may come from our resident troll.
OK, I never made a submerged transit of the SOH, just several on the surface. I can imagine it is not an easy task. Having left submarines in 1975 from a boomer, I have no idea what the protocol is, so I won’t ask or speculate on that. However it seems that a lot of people are assuming that it was negligence by one or both crews here. We really don’t know that do we? Suppose both ships were exactly where they were supposed to be and the New Orleans had to do an emergency turn to avoid collision with a big tanker or one of the Iranian a**holes in small craft? Suppose the Hartford had to avoid one of their subs? I am not saying this is what happened; I don’t know any more than anyone else and I have not been there since 1986 and it was crowded enough then. I am just saying that there could be a scenario where neither CO gets relieved.

3/20/2009 12:15 PM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...


I can think of better words, but I try to keep them small for your understanding.

Fast Nav

3/20/2009 12:20 PM

Anonymous crushdepth said...

{To all you who criticize, I just have to say that you weren't there, you don't know what happened. Stop speculating at the expense of others! If you want to solve these problems, then go through nuclear power school, serve on several ships, become a captain, and then create processes that help prevent accidents like this! Armchair quarterbacking never solved anything.}

First, and with all due respect, there is going to be some criticism here, especially as details emerge. There will also be speculation. Some will be warranted and some not. That being said, the majority (non-mulligan) will be of positive value to the readers.

While there are few COs here (there ARE some), many of us have served in capacities that are applicable to these sorts of incidents. Nuc school, interestingly enough, is not terribly applicable (although I am a graduate, as are most of the posters). Folks like Ret. ANAV did not go to NNPS, and yet he is one of the folks here best qualified to discuss such incidents - far more than I. As far as serving on several boats (not ships) - you want a list from the commenters? - it will be long and distinguished.

Please remember this - our first thoughts are for the welfare of the crew - some of us served on that boat.

3/20/2009 12:29 PM

Blogger beebs said...

The rules of the road are clear: a submerged submarine must always give way to a surface ship.

So we know USS Hartford was in the wrong.

Therefore, the surface ship CO was not responsible for the collision, and will likely keep his command.

3/20/2009 12:40 PM

Blogger Port Tack Start said...

And in related news, I heard rumors about a log and a t-hull meeting in Juan de Fuca recently.

3/20/2009 12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who decides the fate of the CO's. And why do they have to be relieved. (if they in fact do). In the Business world mistakes are made and lessons are learned. But to quickly what in essence is ending a career of possibly a few folks who have been fine officers. Could someone help me understand, thanks. Joel I hope you are doing well. you have been in my prayers.

3/20/2009 12:57 PM

Blogger Derek said...

I retired in November 08, my last job being the EDMC of 768's home squadron. HARTFORD had a good crew and an excellent command team. I feel really bad for them. I take offense at those who think the nuclear power program was somehow responsible for this. High level of knowledge, high standards of formality, and a questioning attitude have never caused a collision. I know the CO and XO and I seriously doubt they would low-ball this dangerous transit.

3/20/2009 1:02 PM

Anonymous crashdepth said...

{So we know USS Hartford was in the wrong.

Therefore, the surface ship CO was not responsible for the collision, and will likely keep his command.}

I disagree on both counts. What about a mechanical or electrical fault that impaired maneuvering?

3/20/2009 1:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between a CO and a CEO making a bad call is the magnitude of the effect of that screw-up.

A CEO blows a business deal it usually means lost money, maybe some lost jobs, and in the extreme cases a failed business. All of which can be 'replaced'.

A CO makes a bad call and runs his boat into something it just might result in someone losing something that can't be their life.

3/20/2009 1:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "great crew" wouldn't now be in this situation. How many other boats have made this transit without incident? This was human error, plain and simple...and the error was most likely not limited to a single human. Of course we should be concerned for the welfare of the crew, but we should also be expecting that the deficiencies of that crew will be examined and dealt with appropriately....or, in other words:

"The Stupid Shall Be Punished"

3/20/2009 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing compares to being in an underwater collision. Been there, done that. I am glad that the crew of the Hartford was able to escape with minor injuries. I believe that the SF's collision resulted in a fatality. Those guys are risking their lives with every dive, so let the Nav decide who to blame, and give the crew credit for professionalism and courage to do the job.

3/20/2009 1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, sorry. They didn't do the job, they screwed up the job. Let's give credit to all those that don't.

3/20/2009 1:39 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

{A "great crew" wouldn't now be in this situation. How many other boats have made this transit without incident?}

What? What planet are you from?? Great people have bad days all the time. Seen it said several times already that we should not pass judgement and I wholeheartedly agree! OK, Nuc's how many of you have tanked an ORSE drill because your ordinarily stellar team was having a bad day? OK, Nav's/ANAV's, how many of you have ran out of the Training Nav Channel during a TRE because your stellar team had to get up at 3:00 am and pilot in to pick up the TRE team, THEN jump thru their hoops. Having taught in the sim world, I've seen GREAT teams have REALLY bad days. It happens to ALL of us. As to part two of this dumba$$ comment...MOST boats do this without incident. I've done it 8 or 10 (cant remember) times...all without incident. To me, it was another day at the office, I just never TREATED it like it was another day at the office. If a former SUBRON EDMC says they were a great crew with a great command team, then I'm certainly not going to second-guess that.
Loading a green combo.

3/20/2009 1:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Actually, that was my father and mother and her friends when they were younger. If I could only look as good as my father? (humor)

Really, I was on a mission when I got that picture(s). I was working at a obsolete WalMart store and they were preparing to build a new Super WalMart a few miles down the rood from the old store...they had architect plans and all. A Dog Racing tract owned the property that the new WalMart was to be built on...a huge piece of property and the stores was to sit next door to the tract....and the agreement was signed.

When my mission was completed and I did it all; the dog tract went bankrupt, the property is tied up bankruptcy, and Supercenter was cancelled. I worked at the Dog tract to for a short timeframe also.

I got the picture from a disgruntle WalMart employee and all people in the picture are all current management employees of the store. Who knows what they were doing. I am not anti WalMart. I was just sending a signal to corporate Wal-Mart Arkansas.

I am telling you people, I know how people and systems work! I am pretty good at interacting with them. I know asymmetrical warfare...better yet transformation into a better organization.

Sorry, I got the USS New Orleans and USS San Antonia mixed up...I can’t tell the faces of you southerners apart. So the USS New Orleans failed their insurv, which is now classified information, while the USS San Antonio has come out of the ship yards with a lot of troubles and tragically they recently lost a sailor at sea.

Mike Mulligan

3/20/2009 1:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could really do some speculating here.....?

When did the Iranian’s get the message and why was the collision in the Strait of Hormuz in proximity to the Obamas message?

Right, these Naval accidents are damaging the credibility of the government of the USA on a world wide bases?

3/20/2009 2:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would-be Monday morning quarterbacks should look at this chart and do a little meters-to-feet conversion before pointing fingers.

3/20/2009 2:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah. A great crew with a great command team would not be in this situation. They would have been somewhere else at that moment.

A great crew + submerged collision = not a great crew.

3/20/2009 2:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

some good men are going to be questioning life over this. i pray it doesn't take them six months of empty bottles to find out the answer was never in the bottle to start with...

the bbq on the greenling was as close as i can get to relating to it, or was it the incident at autec? anyway, as an ST, when you flunk an orse and spend stand-down painting aft of frame 52 in makes you wonder how they determine who is at fault...

i really do pray for the crew, o-gangers included...

3/20/2009 2:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon at 11:22am.

I find your comment about ORSE relation to be a bad correlation.

NR has a very useful purpose and is not a "cancer" as you call them. Just for reference, take a look at our safe nuclear power operational history from the program's exception. Compare our record to that of the civilian industry or of any other nuclear capable foreign military.

As much as I hated NRRO doing monitor watches, I recognize the useful purpose.

On another note, best of luck to the crew on the Hartford. They will need every bit they can to get through this mess with minimal hardship. It is good to hear that noone was seriously injured and that the boat is safely on the surface.

I know the follow on corrective actions will be most likely painful.

Good luck Hartford!



3/20/2009 2:55 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

{Blah, blah, blah. A great crew with a great command team would not be in this situation. They would have been somewhere else at that moment.

A great crew + submerged collision = not a great crew.}

You're assuming they had somewhere else to go. Scratch're just assuming. I like FACTS...much easier to deal with. And easy to get if you know where to look.

3/20/2009 3:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only fact of consequence here is the fact that they collided.

The attitude of some of the posters here seems to be that they are not a "great crew" in spite of that fact, but because of it. Yeah, great job guys! Spike up the price of oil for us, and let's throw in those stunningly high repair costs for good measure! Get that broom up on the sail!

3/20/2009 3:15 PM

Blogger Career Coach said...

My nephew is onboard the Hartford and the family is praying for everyone's safety and safe passage to port.

3/20/2009 3:21 PM

Anonymous ET2(SS) said...

{Anonymous said...
Nope, sorry. They didn't do the job, they screwed up the job. Let's give credit to all those that don't.}

FYI, all of the men on that boat are good men and they're damn good at their jobs. i served 3.5 years on that boat ending last oct and if i had the chance i'd trade places with anyone still there and i would die for any of them.

here's some advice for anyone who's never served one a sub.

shut your hole

if you don't know what you're talking about, maybe you shouldn't be talking about it.

3/20/2009 3:53 PM

Blogger Boomer Rider said...

There was a time when COs were not automatically relieved following a collision, but those days are long gone. CDR Moody deserved commendation, not condemnation, but he understood the rules when he took the job.

Part of the pressure comes from having so many officers eligible for command and so few commands available.

3/20/2009 3:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the duty troll isn't providing all the angst. How about we cut back the scuttlebutt and wait for some straight(er) poop?


3/20/2009 4:02 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

All of this has been said before.
CO JOB 1: prevent a tier one event-no groundings, collisions, or deaths.
Violate JOB 1, get new job. Especially given the recent (last few years) collisions that have been wholly avoidable.

Three other notes:
Cannot be same issue as NNS, not physically possible. Most likely 768 was at or arriving at PD. Still dumb. Also possible 768 at PD and didn't see Amphib--but more likely they did and didn't take sufficent action to avoid the hit.

There is no correlation between ORSE grades and bad things. I can show you any correlation you want.

The CO of the SFO chose to run at flank through a VERY poorly charted area. Failed two of the TIER 1 tests. Ergo, new job.

3/20/2009 4:15 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

{The only fact of consequence here is the fact that they collided.

The attitude of some of the posters here seems to be that they are not a "great crew" in spite of that fact, but because of it.}

Actually, I think you're the one that has it backwards here. They collided in spite of the fact that they were a great crew.
Just as I once served with a great crew who lost four people overboard, two of whom later died. Just as I knew a great ANAV who hit the side of a mountain. And on. And On...and ON. You miss the point entirely.

3/20/2009 4:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe in "no Monday morning Q'backing". But there are a couple of things that need to be considered as this plays out. If Hartford was transiting at P/D in the Straits, then one has to ask why. P/D provides the least maneuverability for the boat in the x-y plane and they are even more restricted if the z (depth) plane is not an option due to shallow water.
So high density traffic area and P/D-was she directed to make a submerged transit by her boss? If so why?
If not then was she at P/D preparing to surface when this happened?
Regardless-in those conditions P/D is the worst place you can be and that should not be the only option available.

3/20/2009 4:31 PM

Blogger Derek said...

I said HARTFORD had a good crew and a great command team. What makes a great command team? What makes a good crew? My opinion is based on riding that boat and observing them at sea and in port. I am shocked and saddened that this happened. This was a cohesive crew that worked very hard getting ready for deployment.

The point I was trying to make was that there's an assumption that they were all screwed up. I am saying in my opinion, that is not the case. They obviously screwed up big time. After over 24 years of service I know there's a fine line between success and failure. In almost all cases like this, there were latent weaknesses that allowed problems to go unchecked.

One of the first mistakes people make is to assume something like this can't happen to them because they are better than the other guy.

3/20/2009 5:28 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

@Port Tack Start:

Shoot me an email when you get the chance....I have a question about an earlier post.

(p.s. - do you ENJOY being the Rabbit?)

3/20/2009 5:28 PM

Blogger aj said...


3/20/2009 5:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is rediculous how there are already so many comments on an incident where details have not, nor should they be disclosed. As a wife of one the of the men on the USS Hartford, I think we should all just be thankful everyone is alive and okay. Its a shame all the critisism some people are giving these fine sailors, they are doing the best they can for OUR country. God bless them and be with them during this time. And very well said Chief Razor!

3/20/2009 5:48 PM

Blogger Christopher N. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/20/2009 5:56 PM

Blogger Christopher N. said...

OF COURSE it has to be a collision with an LPD...and a NEW one at that. (glad IM on a different class LPD...)
but thankfully no one was killed.

3/20/2009 5:58 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

This is not the first time since 2002, that one of our SSN subs collided with an LPD in the Middle East... Was there ever a lesson to be learned?

3/20/2009 6:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never did warm up to the Navy's insistence on using the clearly self-gratifying but obtuse and ill-founded phrase that always comes up after an incident like this:

"No new lessons have been learned."

News flash, my Navy brethren:

"No lesson has been learned until behavior has changed."

You might want to put that in the next applies to everything in life, including collisions at PD in restricted waters.

3/20/2009 6:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“You said: “Mike Mulligan. You're a raging, throbbing, retard.””

I wonder if Obama knew he could intentionally elevate “intellectual disabilities” with his declaration of “I bowl like I am in special Olympics”? Could he intentionally belittle himself in order to do a wider good? Does he got down that trick of amplification? My wife has a master degree in special education and she is a K and pre k school system special Ed administrator. We have been in the heart of the battle with how, we as a nation, mistreat those with a mental disability...both on the child level and how we treat adults. I have seen some really sorrowful things out there while in undercover operations. My wife and her teacher friends kind of term Obama’s remark as one of those little quirks a beloved normal person needs to get straightened out, and are astonished with the positive amplification this brought to special needs.

My buddies thought up the below CNN article up as up as a means to throw a shot across your bow.

This article came out about 3 hours ago?

Special Olympics takes on use of 'R-word'...March 20, 2009@about 4pm

• Story Highlights
• Americans are being challenged to consider their use of "R-word" or "retard"
• Attention comes just before campaign: Spread the Word to End the Word
• Obama's Tonight Show gig included off-the-cuff reference to Special Olympics
• Special Olympics president and CEO calls all the attention a "teachable moment"
By Jessica Ravitz CNN
(CNN) -- An unexpected and sudden spotlight on the Special Olympics, an organization that for more than 40 years has served and honored those with intellectual disabilities, comes less than two weeks before the nonprofit launches a new campaign: Spread the Word to the End the Word.

March 31 is being billed a "national day of awareness," a call to Americans to recognize and rethink their use of the word "retard," or as the organization would prefer, the "R-word."
"Most people don't think of this word as hate speech, but that's exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends," a statement about the campaign reads. "This word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur."

The push for increased respect is being spearheaded by young people who are collecting pledges or vows to not use the word at, and are leading online discussions on how people can get involved in this cause.

Mike Mulligan

3/20/2009 6:40 PM

Anonymous Jtiemens said...

To all the critics just remember there was only one perfect person in the history of mankind and they crucified him. Bless her crew and thier families as they will be coping with this for months even years to come.

3/20/2009 6:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with served ssn co...The boat was at or arriving at pd. For what it's worth, NBC nightly news had a computer aided re-inactment of the collision and the N.O drove up her port stearn while submerged putting the N.O in her baffles at the time of the collision. I was on 677 when we collided with a merchant in Hong Kong on the surface in the mid 90's. The engine room reported flooding just after the collision alarm sounded. Turned out to be water splashing up from the bilge from the shuttering of the ship.My thoughts are with the crew...Goodbye skip...

3/20/2009 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch! Check this out from released navy footage. On the surface, with a "Damaged Sail"

3/20/2009 8:04 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Those straits are well known for volatile currents. Maybe this was something that wasn't taken into account. I've been through those straits before and it's like getting sucked into a drain there.

3/20/2009 8:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Start your own blog with your "Buddies" - you may actually get 1-2 hits per day from like minded kids who were always picked last during kickball.....

For the rest of us, the best way to control a problem child is to put them in "TIME OUT" and IGNORE THEM. They CRAVE attention.

Don't post any replies to his off topic and ignorant (not retarded....) drivel.

Mulligan - here's what drivel means... "–verb (used without object) - to talk childishly or idiotically.


3/20/2009 8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, Mulligan, you really are a RETARD, living in, (as we like to say after hosing a drill) 'Tardville.

3/20/2009 8:23 PM

Anonymous DILLIGAF said...

Mike Mulligan, I, like others do not believe you to be a submariner. My reason being that you are offended by being called retarded. I have never met a submariner who would be offended by a Non-PC comment. All the submariners that I know or have been around know that any use of a Non-PC remark made towards them would in no way be confused with trying to insult someone outside the submarine service.

However, if you are or were a submariner, I can understand your dislike. If you acted on the boat the way you act here, you are or would have been abused like a red headed stepchild. You might have had friends or acquaintances, but I doubt if anyone fully trusted you.

3/20/2009 8:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a soon to deploy SSN Captain, I can tell you that it is easy to criticize and wonder how something like this could happen, but until you have had the responsibility of command at sea, you can never fully understand. Every single day I think about the responsibility I have as a Captain to keep our ship and sailors safe.

But, the ocean is a harsh and unforgiving place, especially at night in a high contact, shallow water environment. I have sailed those very waters as XO after relieving an XO who was fired for a collision. It is certainly not impossible and takes a lot of training and experience. I don't know what happened any more than any of you, but I can tell you that we will learn what we can from it and move on. The mission will continue and the US Submarine force will continue to go in harm's way for our country.

If someday I lose my job because of a collision or grounding, so be it. My only prayer is that no one is hurt or killed. A ship tied to the pier is safe, but worthless. If you are not in the "arena" don't criticize those of us that are willing to stick our necks out to do our duty. (paraphrasing T.R.)

For those of you that have "been there and done that", I stand ready to listen to any and all advice. I have deployed in all oceans but know that I never stop learning.

Okay, I have given my two cents, back to work preparing for deployment.

3/20/2009 8:59 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

That's a nasty bit of damage in this high-res picture.

Running lights still work on the stbd side, but notice how the sail looks like it's both twisted a bit in its surface, and crumpled substantially at its base.

The more dramatic rip in the upper sail is of course in an area that wouldn't take much abuse, but note the lack of either a fully extended periscope or an OOD on the bridge. She be a bit broke.

Glad the guys are largely OK, as that is indeed one messed up sail. It takes quite a shot to do something like that.

I've gone to PD as OOD in a high-density, highly constrained, SOH-like environment for reasons known only to the skipper, and so have more than a little sense of "but for the grace of God" that this event recalls.

Godspeed the crew of Hartford in their recovery efforts. You will get past this, and be stronger for it.

3/20/2009 9:12 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Well, I happen to know they can get a spare sail off the Honolulu, as long as we're stripping her for parts these days.

3/20/2009 9:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woot, come on back to the yards Hartford!! I love job security!!

3/20/2009 9:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, soon to be CO, I wish you good fortune. I am with you. In my case I have been your Yeo. You will relieve me in person from time to time on the BCP to take care of ship's business. I have been with you, along with your old COB. We, I, your COB, and you, enlisted in the same year. We may have gone to recruit training in the same year and later you went on to university and officer training. But still we are bunk mates from days gone buy. Thus speaks an old retired YNC(SS).

3/20/2009 9:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ENG, if that is not a lighting thing, then that sail is fracked! It does look like it was twisted around the bridge trunk. What kind of keel does that amphib have? This boat was designed to break ice.

...A former SFO crash tester.

3/20/2009 9:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa! Great shot of the sail.
So, that explains how they made "contact" with the New Orleans, along with a shit pot full of diesel floating in the strait.

So was the Hartford traveling at a higher speed than the New Orleans was at the time of collision? That pic gives a whole new meaning to the term, Fender Bender.

Why couldn't sonar hear the ship's screws turning. The closer you get to them from astern, the louder the screws will be. What was the NAV and maneuvering watch doing?

Before any of you get pissed off, keep in mind I'm just asking questions. I'm not making judgements or playing armchair QB.

Looking at the pic above, You guys realize that is exactly the end result of what happens when we let Mulligan navigate the boat.

Mulligan, how did this happen? Who left your cage door open? Was the cattle prod low on batteries and that led to your escaping and ascending upon the bridge to cause havoc and disorder just as you do on this blog?

3/20/2009 9:58 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

You know, I occasionally post in here now and then, and I seriously enjoy what the blogger has to say here. Since I've been here, I know where the blogger stands in his political views and I can tell he's not on the same side I stand.

But for God sakes, the last thing I'd ever see me doing is slam his credentials, political views, or even bother questioning him - or the commenters, about their status or even bother questioning them at all.

It's all opinion, rhetoric, and some really great views and even sound advice here.

But the bullshit insults I see flying back and forth - is it really worth it guys?

To the blogger: Dude, I hope you're feeling better these days; glad to see you're still posting some great stuff in here.

3/20/2009 10:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 3/20/2009 9:58 PM:

Mulligan is out trying out for kickball......Don't look at him. He's in TIME OUT!!!



3/20/2009 10:05 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

As for sub collisions at sea, I remember seeing dings on sails and diving planes on some subs in Norfolk. As a young "target" sailor, my guess was that maybe they hit some debris or some ice. Later I would discover they were either hitting ice or Russian subs.

But this recent incident - is it not embarrassing to the Dolphin wearing community? No offense.

3/20/2009 10:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Harkofaggen:

What is a "Target" sailor? Are you a reformed surface sailor now working for AIG? You'd have a more fullfilling life cleaning the shitters....

Unless you've been underway at 500+ ft shut the FU*K up

3/20/2009 10:15 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Do you see anyone here saying that they're embarrassed, Steve? Nope...not one person. I think the predominant emotion is a blend of "wow...are those guys ever going to catch some hell," and "sure glad no one was seriously hurt.'

Sure, the operational guys are wondering all the natural "why" questions, and some are shooting from the hip, but the circumspect among us know we don't have all the facts. It's that simple.

But 'embarrassed'? Over what? Perhaps most to the point, _compared_ to what? Skimmer land? Considering the recent Port Royal on the Hawaiian beach incident, that doesn't even deserve a response.

3/20/2009 10:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is yet another reason why the Obama administration is going to slash the navy's budget on submarines. You mike my words, it is going to happen.

It is time to think about the stock market and trading to get us rolling again. The subs don't play nice and they are being mean with the financial allocations to the rest of the military communities.

Mike Mulligan.

3/20/2009 10:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The President doesn't slash budgets, Mike. He signs them, or vetoes them. That's pretty much it.

You might want to check into 3rd grade civics again.

3/20/2009 10:34 PM

OpenID xbradtc said...

Mike, no one likes you trolling here, so why bother.

Why not go to

We are actively looking for a troll to beat about the head and shoulders. I think you'd do nicely.

And I'm certainly not surprised that you spout about the stock market in a post that has nothing to do with markets. Well done, knucklehead.

3/20/2009 11:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mulligan, how'd you lose your NRC license?

3/21/2009 1:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soon to deploy SSN Captain:

Are you a friend of Frumpy?

3/21/2009 2:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

y'all are gonna s*** when you here how much the sub rolled.

3/21/2009 2:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Philly was parked next to us when she came home after her little incident, so I can imagine how bad the hartford looks. As a former planes mans and cow, I don't miss going through the SOH & the SOG.

3/21/2009 3:53 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I'm no photo expert, but my guess from the pics is screw impact. The moving screw is the only thing on a ship that could really affect the sail or hull of an SSN.

That said, I can't reason out why there are no scopes raised in the picture.

And no, I won't be surprised to learn how much the boat rolled. The OKC was schwacked by a freighter and rolled big time (that's subjective of course).

Hope they can make it into port safely--that is the only thing they are thinking about right now.

3/21/2009 4:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to wonder - is paranoia over stealth preventing safe navigation in the Strait of Hormuz? Was it necessary to be at PD (based on common sense/ORM vice SOPA requirements)? If it was necessary, were all necessary sensors (to include all active sonar systems)in use? Sometimes failing conservative for counterdetection is failing stupid for operations.

My thoughts are with the crew of course. But the way things are going, it seems like our Navy is better at running into things than conducting warfighting operations - someone has to get to the bottom of this. If the outcome of this event is just another CO firing and GMT on collisions and groundings, I have little doubt that the same thing will happen again in another two years or so.

3/21/2009 5:13 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Eng Sez: {The more dramatic rip in the upper sail is of course in an area that wouldn't take much abuse, but note the lack of either a fully extended periscope or an OOD on the bridge. She be a bit broke.}

CO Sez: {I'm no photo expert, but my guess from the pics is screw impact.}

Eng, you're correct. The initial reports stated the inability to reaise either scope, HDR or of which was obviously rectified. Also said they were attempting to open the clamshell. Later FOLUP said No Joy, and a skimmer took TACON of her for the trip to port to "Give Conning Advice" (Like she needed it in open ocean?).

Skipper, was not a screw impact. Struck the NOL around frame 85 (Any LPD Bubbas here?). I'm still trying to wrap my brain around THAT piece of data, but it is what it is. On another note, you alluded to the similarities between HAR and NNS being physically impossible. Roger that in FORMAT, but what about substance? Just a thought.

3/21/2009 5:53 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Is it just me and my lack of coffee, or does it look, in the picture, like the sail is both bent slightly to STBD and twisted slightly clockwise?
Was looking really hard at the picture and using the rudder for comparison. Maybe I'm just not awake yet.

3/21/2009 6:01 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Hmm. If they couldn't raise anything, how did they get a message off the ship? Perhaps a voice report with the MFM/BRA just bumped a little.

If no screw impact then the scopes must have been down at the time. Down to two theories:
1. Arriving or at PD, OOD figures it out just before the collision and lowers the scope.
2. Sucked up like NNS as NOL passes overhead. From all that I read after NNS, NOL is not big enough to cause that. I suppose it might be possible though.

3/21/2009 6:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The roll was 82 frickin degrees. Suprised there were only 15 injuries and only minor at that. The thing you can't see in the hig-res picture is along the port side, base of the sail, where the welds are completely separated. By the way, the boat is not listing in that picture - the entire sail is BENT about 10 degrees off vertical. The bulbous bow of NOR caught them right on the sail.

RET ANAV, the thing I don't understand is did they have a scope raised at the time of collision? Here are the options as I see it:

1. Yes. Unlikely, because if so, it would now be bent across the top of a sail like my 4 yr old's straw when he finishes a juice box.

2. No, because they ordered emergency deep - but it seems the scope would still be raised to some extent at the point of collision. Their report that they were "unable to raise either scope" implies that they had been fully lowered prior to the collision?

3. Which leaves - no, because they were in dip scope? God help them if so.

3/21/2009 6:12 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Skipper Sez:
I'm no photo expert, but my guess from the pics is screw impact.

I asked myself the same question. And reached the same conclusion. FOLUP report said they were in VHF comms with the ships in the vic, and in Chat with NAVCENT and -54. Never said they fixed the BRA, but they obviously did.

As far as your two scenarios go, I'll subscribe to #1. A certain codeword, and its immediate actions come to mind here. Like you, I think #2, while POSSIBLE, is unlikely.

Anon: I subscribe to #2. And, yeah, it seemed to me also that the entire sail is bent. 82 degree roll? Where did that number come from?

3/21/2009 6:21 AM

Blogger phw said...

It's going to be a long ride home for those guys...

3/21/2009 6:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ret anav, there's another message out there that you haven't seen. Need to talk to your buddies back aft. They always get the best details.

3/21/2009 6:54 AM

Anonymous Soon to be XO said...

Having been involved in one of these untoward incidents I see no issues with "Monday morning quarterbacking" on an informal website. Ofcourse, classified information cannot be discussed and there should be a level of respect for the crew in question. Does anyone know whether they were in the traffic separation scheme during the collison? Also WRT why at PD for transit, it's usually to increase situational awareness with AIS these days. I'm pinging my SWO friends to see if it's standard practice to transmit AIS in international straits, which would bring up more questions.

3/21/2009 7:07 AM

Anonymous sublee75 said...

An 82 degree roll are you serious!!! Wouldn't that scram the reactor? When my boat went through the SOH we had the raydome knocked off/crushed by a cigarette boat we didn't see. Lots of contacts will overload the section tracking party after awhile and transitting at night with a piloting party sucks. I just hope our brothers on the Hartford are OK and I just feel for the crew when they hit port its gonna suck wether you're a coner or a nuke everyone pays for a collision. The Hartford is a good group of guys, had a few drinks with them in port canaveral after our two boats played around. Sometimes bad things happend to good people, but just remember these are good people and submariners at that. You can critisize all you want but remember these are our brothers and that could of been one of us.

3/21/2009 8:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

82 degrees huh. You know you're hurting when #1 SSTG and ME start operating in water wheel mode and the RT is taking a shower from the RPFW XT/CWST!

3/21/2009 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, now I'm just mad. If "soon to be XO" is correct, someone needs to extract the cranium from the rectum. Why in the world would we send a boat thru the SOH at PD? Just for AIS? Then get on the damn roof!!! The benefit of AIS is far outweighed by the slow speed, poor maneuverability, and reduced height of eye of the scope at PD. AND you take away any hope of the other guy seeing you and helping to avoid the collision. What's your concern that says don't surface? Politics? It's an international strait! Stealth? They were headed for a pvst! Force protection? Then assign an escort! I transited two different straits in that AOR in command - Bab-el-Mendeb on the surface with an escort and Hormuz submerged - and we planned it to ensure we wouldn't have to go to PD in the Strait of Hormuz. At this point I'm baffled. There are times to be at PD and sneaky, and there are times to be loud and obvious.

3/21/2009 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

82 is accurate, and the plant was a stud. Got to give it up for Rickover and his descendents - they put an engineering marvel in a steel tube that holds up quite nicely in battle. No scram, no carryover, no trips, a little crap in some strainers, but basically came through with flying colors. BZ to the nucs on this one.

3/21/2009 8:33 AM

Anonymous Soon to be XO said...

Just to clarify, I did not say they were definitely at PD just that that might be a reason why they would choose PD. In the case they were returning to port you would not expect them to be under OPSEC conditions requiring a submerged transit but you never know on deployment. I strongly suspect as others have pointed out that it was most likely a transition period to PD when it happened. In this environment it is actually, not necessarily easy to see, but understandable that they could have missed the "clean" sounding (and quieter) Amphib amongst the very noisy traffic until it was too late.

3/21/2009 8:45 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

(For any other old-timers like me who are wondering what an AIS is, have a look here.)

3/21/2009 8:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I,m the Mother of a sailor on board the Hartford. I,m concerned for the crews safety porting. The captains wife called last night with no info on where or when they will port. Anyone have any ideas on that?

3/21/2009 9:06 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

No worries, good mother, your lad's boat has lots of attention at this point, and looks to be plenty seaworthy.

The Navy won't release where she's going to port until the boat gets there...just a standard security measure for the boat and crew. My guess is that you'll be receiving a phone call from your son as soon as he's able.

Us ex-bubbleheads are somewhat agog over the damage to the sail, but you could take the whole thing off and the boat would still work in a fashion...just not nearly as efficiently.

Not to diminish what they went through, an 82-degree roll is one for the record books. Let's be thankful that the injuries were judged to be minor, and that all were returned to duty.

3/21/2009 9:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember being in Subic one year on the 677 and one of the B-girls went out for a test dive when their snorkel induction piping collapsed along the port side and caused them to roll 89 degrees (they tied up alongside of us and you could see the damage). The reason I know this is that I saw a tee shirt on one of their crew that said "I survived the 89".

Does anyone remember that?

Former RM2(SS)

3/21/2009 10:42 AM

Blogger AKK said...

So what about the Navigator of the sub? In a collision like this you are saying the CO will be removed from the ship. What happens to the careers of the Nav, XO? Just asking as a concerned friend. Also, how long (estimate) will it be before the Hartford can sail again?

3/21/2009 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More pics showing the extent of the damage here:

They are pulling into to Bahrain.

3/21/2009 12:22 PM

Blogger phw said...

This shows a very good picture of the port side of the sail. Look at where the sail connects to the hull. There appears to be a good 6 inch tear.


3/21/2009 12:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

akk, it's possible it might have no impact on the nav's career. In another collision that I am familiar with, the nav was not on watch at the time and it had no impact on his career. The XO in that case went to commodore's mast, but he's a serving SSN CO now. The guys whose careers will be affected by an incident such as this are the CO and whoever was on watch at the time (Officer of the Deck, maybe the XO if he was CDO, maybe the Contact Coordinator or JOOD, maybe the Sonar Sup).

3/21/2009 1:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe D from 677 - that you?

3/21/2009 1:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Navy Mom back again. I heard from my son . they are in port now, all are safe. said they were looking forward to fixing her up and coming home. the last I knew they should have been in Conn. end of April, early May. That was before the collision. I think it will be awhile by the looks of the damage.

3/21/2009 1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at, shouldn't there be another antenna filling that black hole beneath the lookout's feet?

3/21/2009 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What to me is interesting is that there seems to be damage not only to the front face of the sail, but also to the top of the sail, I guess that damage would account for why the sail looks like it bent at a 10 degree angle. I have a feeling when/if the final report comes out it will be a interesting one to say the least.

3/21/2009 2:54 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Those pics from wow. Although, as the Eng said, the ship still has watertight integrity if you rip the sail off (albeit one hatch down), finding a way to get her into port would be a true challenge.

Hmmm. Dip scope. I was kind of hoping no one would bring that up. Based on how long it takes the scopes to come down, if Emergency Deep were ordered the sail should have cleared but maybe not the scopes. In dip scope or not AIS would probably have shown the NOL although warships are exempt and typically DO NOT squak(?) for FP reasons.

#1 leading theory, at PD, in dip scope, maybe didn't even see the NOL.

82 degrees. Damn. The design has lots of margin but you are not supposed to use it outside combat.

3/21/2009 2:59 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

squawk. That looks better.

>thumps head on table<

3/21/2009 3:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...the ship still has watertight integrity if you rip the sail off (albeit one hatch down), finding a way to get her into port would be a true challenge."

1) Fixes: Handheld GPS
2) Contact Management: Topside Furuno duct-taped to a chair from the wardroom
3) Sound-powered phones and Seaman's eye!

3/21/2009 3:30 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just got home from being out all day and saw the pics! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did Tautog's sail look like this after her little fracas? Long slow trip back for these bubbas and ding-dang glad for and proud of those guys' basic-submarining skills that nobody was seriously hurt.
82 degrees, huh? Dayum. I did 57 (down) on 590 back in the day and it scared the crap out of us...can't imagine 82.

CO, I'll definately subscribe to your leading theory, but one thing I can't wrap my head around...They were BOTH (I think) INBOUND SOH, yet this appears to be wide-angle collision (40-50 degrees lead angle?) Any thoughts?

3/21/2009 3:47 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Inbound in SOH, the ships would be turning to port a few times. Clearly, Hartford was ahead of NO at one point in time, so she would be presenting her left flank, if you will...thus the angle of separation makes sense.

However, I tend to agree with Joel that the scope can come down a lot faster than the boat can. That really doesn't seem like much of a horse race to me. That being the case, an Emerg. Deep situation where the scopes were down before impact adds up.

Also, and in any case, the boat got clocked in the sail's upper left hand corner, twisting the sail and ripping it off its portside foundation . If you take a close look, you can even make out the circular imprint of the NO's bulbous bow in this area of the sail.

By getting hit there it may have bought a couple of seconds more for the scopes to come down before the top of the sail got scraped...but my guess is that they already were.

3/21/2009 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relieved as XO of ship that had another C5F collision.
Soon to be a deployed CO.
Wow, hard to figure that out "anonymous".

3/21/2009 4:31 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Noteworthy the contrast between the Navy's PR handling of this booboo and the GREENEVILLE's collision years back. Kudos.

3/21/2009 4:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bend over of the sail explains why the scopes are very stuck.

3/21/2009 5:06 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"The bend over of the sail explains why the scopes are very stuck."

Yes. Stuck down. Both had to be down when she hit.

3/21/2009 5:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the “dip scope theory”: I actually agree with srvd CO that it is probable for the sail to clear but the scopes get hit. The problem with that theory is the collision occurred in the middle of the night in a high traffic density area. Why would you be in dip scope? I would rather know what is going on around me than worry that somebody might spot a pole in the water in the middle of the night. Safety trumps avoiding being detected – I am going to side that the crew was being prudent in that regard. Perhaps they were going up to PD, found a close contact (NOL, which they didn’t see before due to a bow null), and called emergency deep ... however, due to buoyancy characteristics close to the surface that were different than what they expected to find at PD, found themselves much lighter than anticipated, and subsequently had to flood something fierce in order to get back down … which can take a lot of time. I don’t know, I’m just speculating here. In any event, I hope that the report provides context as to what the crew was going through at the time – I know for a fact that some reports oversimplify, downplay, or ignore the other challenges that the crew was undergoing during an incident, which leads the reader to think “how could they have missed the obvious problem?” Quite easily, if you recognize the other problems they were grappling with, in better judgment or in worse.

3/21/2009 6:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ret ANAV said...
HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just got home from being out all day and saw the pics! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did Tautog's sail look like this after her little fracas? Long slow trip back for these bubbas and ding-dang glad for and proud of those guys' basic-submarining skills that nobody was seriously hurt.
82 degrees, huh? Dayum. I did 57 (down) on 590 back in the day and it scared the crap out of us...can't imagine 82.

CO, I'll definately subscribe to your leading theory, but one thing I can't wrap my head around...They were BOTH (I think) INBOUND SOH, yet this appears to be wide-angle collision (40-50 degrees lead angle?) Any thoughts?

3/21/2009 3:47 PM

I was on 590 74-77. When were you?


3/21/2009 6:40 PM

Blogger Paul said...

YNC Sez:
I was on 590 74-77. When were you?

First boat....87-89. Took her to NORVA from Groton for DECOM. Heard tales of her doing a 70 Down coming out of MINSY a few years before, corroborated by a few who were actually there. Funky boat but maneuverable as all hell. Wish 688's had a Negative tank! (May have helped here?)

Stay on the Step.

3/21/2009 6:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question was asked about why the CO gets sacked after an incident like this. Reminded me of the old chestnut, "We don't hang horsethieves for stealing horses. We hang them so that horses don't get stolen." We're in the business of encouraging others to meet a very high standard and we really do need to sack those that cannot perform to that standard and so hazard the lives of their crews through incompetence. Some COs get fired and it's a bad rap but in most cases the incident earned the consequences.

3/21/2009 7:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 6:12 and 8:33... the details about the extent of the roll and what did or did not happen with the propulsion plant were not for public release and went to a relatively small group of people. I'm one of them. Watch yourself. You may be priivy to the details and like the response you get from posting them here, but you are out of bounds. Remember the name of this blog... don't qualify yourself as someone that needs to be punished.

3/21/2009 7:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous anonymous...

If there is "out of bounds" stuff posted here, let Joel know so he can clean it out. Otherwise skip the big brother stuff.

3/21/2009 7:49 PM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Well, those pics certainly show why the scopes won't come up. Even #1 would have trouble working it's way through that type of an alignment problem.

and yes, it still doesn't explain why #2 was down...

I can't tell if she's got a #2 MFM/BRA or an HDR, but my guess is an HDR and that's why there's a hole beneath the lookout's feet. The HDR has alot of room when it's lowered and a sliding door that opens for it to come up. That door is obviously fracked, so the mast won't come up.

3/21/2009 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am at least five or six persons away from who I was in the service. I went undercover at a children mental hospital and watched a preventable medical error in the making, based on budget priorities, cause a death of Downs syndrome child. I got to know him rather well. My son has minor cerebral palsy, his legs were twisted inward and really stood out from his peers, and it broke my heart when I heard heckling about how he walked. My daughter is Korean in a all white school, she has had her issues to. I know the majority of the interaction with my children were positive...but I know they faced a low level of heckling that I never faced.

So now you got one less fast attack, you been in a heightened tempo for 6 years and are tired. We don’t know how many subs are working within degraded conditions and are inefficient or less reliable. One less sub and everyone is working harder. You got about 50 fast attacks, probably about 10 in overhaul or in a serious maintenance period.

Will one less sub push you more towards other sub accidents and human errors? Can you even begin to imagine the outcome if a US nuclear sub or a huge troop transport ship sank in the Strait of Hormuz?

You generially fire a CO in order to provide protection to the higher ups...that is what they do in business.

Mike Mulligan

3/21/2009 8:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's a good thing stupidity is not a federal offense.

You would have summarily executed a long time ago.

3/21/2009 9:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem I am well aware of, is I get censored and your ilk don't.

3/21/2009 9:32 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

Hopefully all of the crews of both ships are OK. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.

This is not speculation of what occurred with the Hartford, but what actually happened to my boat in the Straits of Malacca. Surface transitting behind the USS Ajax (AR6). It was the 18-24 watch on 12/31/85.

An EM3 (guy I was hotracking with) was tasked with tagging out the drain pump for PM. He wrote the tagout, second checked, approved by the EOOW, etc. Off he went to hang the tag. As he came into AMR2UL from maneuvering (Sturgeon class) he asked me to second check the tagout once it was hung it. Sure. I was just doing RPPO stuff. Seconds later he came by me, rushing aft into the engineroom with a 250Amp fuse in a large fuse puller shouting "$hi+, $hi+, $hi+!"

In a split second I thought "Why is he holding a fuse when the drain pump is protected by a breaker? What on that bus is powered by a fuse? $hi+, $hi+, $hi+!!!! The operating 400 cycle set!"

I raced into ERUL where EM3 was standing in front of the 400 cycle control panel and I pushed him tail over tea kettle between the TGs. Not the first time the engineering department had seen me do that to EM3, and wasn't the last. No voltage or frequency. 1MC blaring about a loss of ship's control with a panicked tone. I opened the dead 400 cycle set's output breaker and started the other one.

Fortunately the helmsman recognized it quickly and took control with the joy stick but we had drifted 100 yards out into the strait. We weren't close to collision but it was scary. EMFN cranked until we got to Diego Garcia.

We were still recovering from another scare. Right before this event, on the 12-18 watch, I had the throttles when we came through a scattering of logs. The OOD yelling for an all stop countered by the CO yelling to stop the shaft.


3/21/2009 9:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard that story before, but told by the EOOW that signed the tagout. By his telling, it wasn't the drain pump that he was trying to tag out but the other 400 cycle set (the one that wasn't running). He had his arse chewed up and down by the CO right after. At least you had the advantage of being on the surface at the time, with an escort, but still must have been unnerving!

3/21/2009 10:09 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Steve Harkofaggen:

What is a "Target" sailor? Are you a reformed surface sailor now working for AIG? You'd have a more fullfilling life cleaning the shitters....

Unless you've been underway at 500+ ft shut the FU*K up

ROTFLMAO.....literally! But underway at 500+ft? I never knew ships could fly, anon....

3/21/2009 10:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol, Steve!
Good comeback.

3/21/2009 10:42 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

I don't recall who the EOOW was. The initials MC or JZ come to mind, but if it were TB or CR it didn't affect their careers since both are O6's now. CDR Kent could definitely chew some ass. I got the scars to prove it. 6'8 and bald. When he got mad his forehead wrinkled clear up to the crown. Great sub driver though.

I do remember it was the drain pump because it was me that was to do the PM. Changing out the brushes. It was skipped while in Singapore awaiting brushes. The Eng wanted the PM done before we got to the IO and submerged. The offgoing EO and AEA did the PM while I went to the sail to change out the navigation light. The only time I had been on the bridge underway.

Either way, we had lots of bottles of Welch's grape juice for NYE and toasted the helmsmen, SN(SS), for his quick reaction.

3/21/2009 10:50 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Ex SSN Eng said:

But 'embarrassed'? Over what? Perhaps most to the point, _compared_ to what? Skimmer land? Considering the recent Port Royal on the Hawaiian beach incident, that doesn't even deserve a response.

Well, considering subs have had some nasty habits of running into surface vessels, I'd say my query is valid, so there's really no need to be defensive. I'd also say this has happened too much. But I am glad no one was killed.

3/21/2009 11:08 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

All in good spirit, anon. We're all sailors, no matter what...thick skinned. That was so funny I had to show my wife and she got a good laff too.

3/21/2009 11:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll go with your version of what the PM was, so must have been the drain pump- better to believe the guys who do the maintenance than the guys o-gangers that tell 'em to do it! Your last guess on the EOOW was right, and you are correct- he is now an O6. I have never served with him, but I heard that he was a nightmare CO, both times.

3/21/2009 11:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:31 and 7:22 (same person?) -

Maybe you should worry more about the ship and the incident's root causes and less about useless technical trivia being posted on blogs. Or are you one of those squadron guys who's so useless that he isn't trusted to do anything more important?

Your Boss (concerned taxpayer)

3/21/2009 11:36 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

The guy who does TubeDaze had him as the CO on Georgia. He told me liked CR as a CO. Personally, CR and TB, the current CO of nuke school, were hands down the best officers I served with for my six years. CR was demanding but I'd have gone to the ends of the Earth for either of them.


3/21/2009 11:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boss & Concerned Taxpayer,

No, not the same person as 4:31. I don't try to figure out who the anons are.

I assure you that we have spent the last few days focused entirely on getting her into port safely. The priority has been the safety of the crew. There will be plenty of time to dissect the root causes later, and I don't get involved in the speculations about who was at fault, whether the CO should or shouldn't be fired, how this could have happened, blah, blah, blah.

The specific details of what happens aft of that WT door may seem like "useless trivia" (believe me, I have felt that way while studying for exams, boards, etc.). But while no single bit of info in that post was over the line and needs to be cleaned off here, it is a slippery slope when you start talking about how the plant responded to something like this. I merely wanted to caution that poster before he kept going and crossed the line, since he clearly was aware of some of the more sensitive details.

I'm surprised that such a mild comment of caution has you so fired up, but I'll sleep ok tonight nonetheless. I'm not one of those "useless" squadron guys either. Couldn't do my job without 'em. And I'm not interested in getting into a "who knows more about submarining" contest with you. Based on the tone of your post though, I doubt you can resist the urge to write something snotty back.

How about we all just be glad these guys made it back to port safely? Regardless of how this happened, Chief Razor hit it on the mark in his earlier post. This could have been much, much worse, and to take the beating that they did with only minor injuries is a good statement on her basic submarining skills like stowage. For you submariners out there, imagine being on the surface in the SOH at night without being able to raise a scope or get the clamshells open... for hours. And you are still trying to figure out what just happened and if everyone is ok. Think about contact management now. BZ to the surface ship that expertly sheperded her out of a tight spot while she was blind.

3/22/2009 12:58 AM

Anonymous Ross Kline said...

I am just impressed that she could take a hit like that one must have been and still stay watertight.

I didn't bother to check whether she was built at EB or NNS, but still mind boggling.

I am also happy to hear nobody got seriously hurt. Careers can be recovered. Lives can't.

3/22/2009 2:05 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

maybe not dipscope in the middle of the night, generally we don't think anyone can see us.

Unfortunately I cannot see why anyone in their right mind would choose that location to GO to PD, which means they were already there. That means something very strange happened. The reason I love this forum is that a few details will surface here that the force would keep under wraps for a very long time.

Am I embarrassed? No. Does the force have an issue? Tough question that gets asked every time. After the NNS and two 'buoy incidents' I can testify that the sensitivity is high. Fixing it is tough and is reliant ultimately on the performance and judgment of the man on the line. Choose to be at PD in the wrong place, TSSBP. There are always reasons, none of which every seem like enough when you are in front of the green table.

3/22/2009 5:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@PW and Anon: Have to give a shout to TB. Served with him a while back and he was a damn fine submariner and officer to work for.

Glad to hear HAR made it to Bahrain safe and sound.

3/22/2009 6:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We build our boats to meet the challenge of "man of war." Everyone should knock off the second guessing. Every boat sailor has their own horror story in shallow ops, PD transits or other interesting things. We should all be thrilled that everyone is coming home alive. I am told Post WW II submariners were not even allowed to join thew VFW until a couple of years ago. Would be nice to see our community recognized for the risk of the duty we performed. We appreciate the service and sacrifice. Good job to the crew and yes s**t happens.

3/22/2009 7:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a thought - any chance NOR was running darkened ship? Or deceptive lighting? The first time I ever saw that in an exercise, it kicked my ass. If she was not using AIS, it's not a step much further to go dark on the lights. That would change the story by a considerable amount.

3/22/2009 7:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Anyone with a Navy Expeditionary Medal has always been able to join the VFW. If you're qualified submarines and don't have one, I guess you didn't do much, or maybe spent all your time on boomers. Oh, and WTF does the VFW have to do with anything?

2. "Good job to the crew."??? Yeah, good job for colliding with another ship. Has anyone read what Srvd_SSN_Co has posted here? I think what he says is right on the money.

Sure, I'm glad they are all alive..but anyone who thinks they get a pat on the back for screwing up is just nuts. And anyone who thinks they didn't screw up is even nuts-er.

3/22/2009 7:32 AM

Blogger Paul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/22/2009 7:36 AM

Anonymous Soon to be XO said...

Some SWOs I've talked to say it is optional for AIS, however in the case of transiting a highly congested international strait it is usually prudent to ease your own navigational concerns to broadcast on AIS for the safety of all. So does anyone know for sure whether they were transmitting or not (especially the recent post concerning following SURFOR doctrine)? This would make it hard to believe that they were at PD and more likely the ascent to PD scenario.

3/22/2009 7:40 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Since we're quickly running low on new in-situ facts, I'm OK with addressing any simmering 'fault' issues, at least in a factual, big picture sort of way.

A major fact is that, as someone else has already pointed out, by the Rules of the Road a submerged submarine is the burdened vessel. Regardless of what NO was doing, that's a fact, and there's no getting around it.

As far as Hartford's going to or being at PD in such a situation, all I can offer is a 'reserve salute' (shoulder shrug). Like many others, I've been ordered to do it as OOD and done it successfully albeit against my better judgment. This one lies solidly on the skipper's shoulders, and only time will tell -- and even then, likely only internally -- what the tactical situation/motivation was (or orders were) to be doing this.

And that's all I have to say about that.

3/22/2009 8:04 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

PXO Sez: Some SWOs I've talked to say it is optional for AIS, however in the case of transiting a highly congested international strait it is usually prudent to ease your own navigational concerns to broadcast on AIS for the safety of all.

I got this as a lookup for tomorrow...checking on NAVCENT/C5F AIS Employment Policy. I'm SURE it's addressed in a Standing OPTASK somewhere. Dunno if NOL was squawking or not. Would *I* be squawking? Probably. To a certain extent. In my book, there is little to be gained by trying to be soon as the sun rises, you're there for God and everyone to see, so what's the point? OK, so I know what ONE point would be (FP), but, IMO, the benefits outweigh the potential risk. Just my $0.02 worth.

3/22/2009 8:06 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Eng sez:
A major fact is that, as someone else has already pointed out, by the Rules of the Road a submerged submarine is the burdened vessel. Regardless of what NO was doing, that's a fact, and there's no getting around it.

There's been a few posts about "Rules of the Road" here.
Putting my ANAV/Teacher hat on here: One of the Entering arguements for a ROR situation is "Vessels In Sight Of One Another". Entering Arguement not met here. The other entering arguement assumes Rule 19 conditions are met. They weren't. Bottom line here....While the onus is CLEARLY on the HAR to keep clear, there is NO ROR situation that could possibly address this scenario, short of MAYBE Rule 2, but, since the entering arguements were not met, they really don't COMPLETELY apply. Culpability cannot be assessed on these criteria.


3/22/2009 8:28 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Wow, 175 comments and counting! The schadenfreude on this blog makes my naughty bits all tingly!

3/22/2009 8:32 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Da Nuke said:
The schadenfreude on this blog makes my naughty bits all tingly!

Hey....keep the $5 words aft of the Athwartships passageway! :)

3/22/2009 8:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I am glad to hear that the injuries were not serious. There are plenty of sharp corners in every compartment (at least as I remember on Sturgeon class).

As OOD, going to and being at PD at night were the more stressful periods for me (I would say more stressful than being EOOW during an ORSE).

Some thoughts / observations about the event:
1) The amount of damage to the sail would indicate a relative high rate of speed between the two vessels
2) From the hi-res photos, there does not appear to be any visible scrapes or dents below the sail
3) The NOL draft is listed as 23 feet (I am not sure if this is when fully loaded with USMC equipment and personnel)
4) The shape of the hull of the NOL is rounded with the exception of bulbous bow (see link )
5) Given the observations above, my guess is that the top of the Hartford's sail was struck by the forward, lower portion of NOL's hull (this would tie with the earlier comment about damage at frame 75). Since there does not appear to damage below the sail on the Hartford, the sub's keel depth was probably between 75 and 80 feet. Thus if at PD prior to collision, the sub was able to make some change in depth prior to the event. If the sub was going to PD, an emergency deep could have called either by sonar or by the OOD (based on visual upon reaching PD). [based on a quick Internet search, there would have been partial moonlight and a relatively clear sky (i.e. stars would be visible and thus the horizon would be easily discernible). Given the depth estimate and assuming an ED had been called, the Hartford could have increased speed considerably above normal speed at PD.
6) Given the apparent relative speeds of the vessels at the time of collision and the estimated depth and the shallowness of the SOH, could the sub have been conducting normal submerged ops but at a depth shallower than the normal minimal?

[Note: I may have missed some key facts in earlier posts]

3/22/2009 8:45 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Anav: Good comments. The unknown to us (in Civlant) details matter a lot. Not interested in playing sea lawyer -- at all (too sadly out of practice, and lacking a Farwell's) -- but here's a couple of remaining issues at least in my own mind:

(1) If Hartford was going to PD (in the Strait of freaking Hormuz), she's clearly obligated to best assess whether or not going to PD will be an unacceptable hazard to herself or others. Whether or not she did that will come out of the JAGMAN investigation. If she was at PD, all I can say is "God bless," .as I agree with the plethora of comments that this would seem to be an unnecessary hazard.

(2) Does ROR not apply if not 'in sight'? Personally, I'd call that a specious argument in this particular case. Only somewhat tongue-in-cheek: if the bridge crew of New Orleans were to all put their heads in a bucket, does ROR no longer apply? The intent of invoking 'in sight' is to be a measurement of operating in close proximity, which is the foundation for ROR and collision avoidance...not "in-sight-ed-ness."

(3) Given the geometry, I get the bow null problem, and so can't help but wonder how this will play out.

(4) Who -- if anyone -- was able to jury the idea of a darkened, passive-AIS, 600-ft Navy vessel going through the SOH at the same time as a PD boat...and didn't call 'bullshit'?

3/22/2009 8:55 AM

Anonymous Soon to be XO said...

This is why the location I believe will be the crucial decision factor which will be rested upon. How we ended up only 2 years later with nearly an identical collision between surface and submerged in the same place is the big smack in the face that the force will take on this one. If I remember correctly when I did this same transit (way before AIS or the current gadgets), we took a PD peak before the traffic separation scheme and went to a depth shallower than our normal pre-PD depth but still deeper than PD and ran at 10-12 kts in the neutral zone in the middle of the traffic scheme. I suspect we still do something similar (getting a better picture with AIS first) and that it was this initial PD outside of the TSS where it occurred.

3/22/2009 9:05 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


Agree with your comment #1, but this is obviously an ORM issue rather than an ROR Issue that the ORM-Police will have to sort out.

WRT Comment #2: The Navigation Rules govern the:
a. Conduct of Vessels in Sight of one another, and;
b. Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility.
With these two criteria, reasonable assumptions are made so, no, placing your head in a bucket does not exonerate you :)
So, to fully answer your question, the Navigation Rules do not really apply if neither a nor b above are met.

WRT #3, I'm not sold on Bow Null yet...The PORT side of the sail impacted the STBD side FORWARD of NOL. My (picturs the movie "Top Gun" here) Hand-LOS-Diagrams show about a 20-50 degree lead-angle. But that's just me.

WRT #4, the Dark-Silent theory makes no sense to me either, but I have no idea what the SOH transit Standing OPTASK (I'm pretty sure there IS one) says. Again, my lookup for tomorrow.
As far as concurrent transits go; Way I see it...we do it surrounded by ULCC's / VLCC's all the time, why would the presence of a grey-hull matter a damn? Just my thought.

3/22/2009 9:12 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Anav: Enjoyable converstation. Couple of rejoinders:

Re. #2 - "the Navigation Rules do not really apply if neither a nor b above are met." I'd love to be the real-world lawyer (or judge) that heard this argument in this case. The 'smack' would resonate, as "in sight" means knowingly operating in close proximity...not "photon connected to retina." Just my 2 centavos.

Re. #3: Again, the details matter, but if the NO was turning (to match the turn-to-port track going in SOH) while closing range and maintaining bearing rate...then I can imagine how the range might close to the point that she couldn't be heard due to the bow null. Someone has the answer to this for certain, but I can't help but wonder.

Re. #4: Deep drafts have their lights and AIS that's no small difference if NO was running dark. My point is that if running dark is SOP and some staff weenie knew that they'd be going through at the same time as Hartford, there should be some skinned knuckles when all is said and done _because_ it was avoidable...and -- going back to the PXO's points -- that is the Big Deal here.

As has been said, "No lesson has been learned until behavior has changed."

3/22/2009 9:25 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


Re; Re: #2...Thankfully, this will never see the light of day in Admiralty Court! And, IMO, culpability can be clearly assessed without regard to the Navigation Rules. An old instructor of mine at PMI in Seattle is both a licensed Master AND a J.D. with an Admiralty Law practice. I'll have to get HIS read on this one of these days after the dust settles.

Re: Re: #3...I was loading the SOH charts onto my VMS when I left the office on Friday (It takes a while). Another of my lookups is to plot the dots tomorrow morning. Until then, I'm reserving comment.

Re: Re: #4...Agree that it should be avoided where possible, assuming skimmer SOP is Dark/Silent. That said, don't know how much SUBOPAUTH's and ESG Bubbas talk to each other WRT coordinated SOH transits. Never did a transit under TACON/TACOM of anyone other than the SUBOPAUTH and I THINK, in ANY case, -54 wants control over it regardless. Just an opinion here.

3/22/2009 9:40 AM

Blogger MathTeacherUpstateNY said...

Thanks all, for your insightful input, except of course he who will not be named.

The initial OMG, WTF happened is over and for the fact that all is safe I give a big thanks. Now it is time for the Armchair Quarterbacks to come out and analyze over days what the folks onboard did in a very short span of time on a sleep deprived, tense, midwatch. My heart goes out to the sailors for the shit storm that has hit them and will continue for weeks to come.

As the tension of the accident is over and family members know their sailors are safe I had to laugh and remember a story that PW and Anon 3/21 10:09 brought to mind.

Both talked about stories of loosing 400hz due to pulling fuses. I suspect both remembered similar stories and age has merged the details. As an Electrician that qualified on the 607 *shudder* back when all it took was a set of fuse pullers to pull fuses, this happened frequently. The funny part was the fuse panel was in Manuevering. On the 607, Manuevering was a very cozy place, just enough room for the 4 watchstanders, only two had chairs, TH stood and EOOW had a bench seat on the wall behind the RO (no desk). The panel for the 400hz sets was behind the EO. Breakers were on the top and two mongo fuses in the bottom. Since you looked aft to operate the panel, the orientation was opposite from where the MG’s were physically located. We had one EM3 that at least twice transferred MG’s, tagged out the off-service one, then pulled the wrong fuses with the whole Manuevering team watching *palm to face*. You forget how important 400Hz is until you lose it. If I remember right that included a “special” alarm up forward. Made for interesting midwatches with the CO coming aft half dressed. I saw that EM3 years latter as an Officer. Mistakes happen, careers continue. Sailors have ammo to take shots at friends.

And BTW, got my Retirement papers this Month, WOOT!!!!!, 26 Active 4 Fleet Reserve. 5 boats, 2 surface ships, and 1 merchant what a wild ride.

3/22/2009 9:47 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Anav: Good chat. Gotta head out to pay some respects, but my final thoughts:

#4 -- "Never did a transit under TACON/TACOM of anyone other than the SUBOPAUTH and I THINK, in ANY case, -54 wants control over it regardless. Just an opinion here."

I think you've validated if not actually made my real point here.

If this happened (again, in the Strait of freaking Hormuz...with a U.S. nuclear submarine) soley because people weren't talking "because that's how it's always been done," then a certain 4-star needs to be knocking heads in a fashion that the contusions won't soon be forgotten.

God bless those who go in Harm's Way. Here's a deep-history reminder as to why submariners need to particularly pay attention to the truism that "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

3/22/2009 9:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's enough operational intelligence in this string of postings to fill a Chinese operative's notebook. And I'm sure it's on their daily reading list. Intel 101 says that people's egos will defeat them and it's absolutely true...

3/22/2009 10:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not making a judgment one way or another (no facts to know), but the COLREGS still apply to this situation including to submerged submarine (the COLREGS are written broadly to prevent collisions after all). If I were investigating this, I would look strongly at these rules with regard to "special circumstances", "prevailing circumstances", or "available means appropriate":
1(a) These Rules shall apply to all vessels upon the high seas....
2 (a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, ...precaution which may be the special circumstances of the case.
2(b) (b) ... due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.
5. Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight as well as by hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.
7(a) (a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists....

3/22/2009 11:12 AM

Blogger Bigbill said...

Looking at the pictures, that is beyond a fly-away repair team capability. It must have been a tremendous blow to shift the sail and rip steel. Hopefully we can make some repairs to ensure integrity and send them home for permanent repairs. I assume the restoration of the periscopes will be the biggest challenge.

I have been the OOD on a CVN for a SOH transit and you mostly focus on minimizing your time spent in the choke point.

3/22/2009 11:24 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Far too many of the comments seem to ignore reported damage to the New Orlean's marine diesel fuel tank.

Even more comments seem to ignore the 27 January 2002, collision of USS Greeneville (SSN-772) with (LPD 5), the USS Ogden off the coast of Oman. Ogden's hull encountered GREENEVILLE's stern rupturing one of OGDEN's fuel tanks, also.

If command of surface ships is hazardous, command of a nuclear sub is perhaps twice as demanding.

It does not take genious to realize something makes the SOH much narrower and congested (for US Navy ships) than is public knowledge. Some of us can probably guess, but we must refrain from speculating publicly.

Imagine the PR disaster for the submarine service if the Hartford collision had caused the deaths of our own US Marines?

As happy as we are that no one (sub sailors or Marines) appears to have been seriously hurt this time, we must be more leery than ever of future submarine collisions with larger vessels.

The volunteers who crew these technological marvels desereve much better press.

3/22/2009 11:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


"I got this as a lookup for tomorrow...checking on NAVCENT/C5F AIS Employment Policy. I'm SURE it's addressed in a Standing OPTASK somewhere."

You may have this as a lookup but it is not for public consumption. So please be careful when discussing tactics, remember there are still a lot of forces ove there who rely on our discreetness.

Other than that, great discussion!


This collision is also similar to the Plunger vs. Merchant off San Clemente back in the mid 80's.

As the Ops Chief at CSG-7 back in the mid 90's I can say that this is not the first close encounter in the SOH. When we started sending boats into the Gulf, we debated the risk vs. gain of being there. Although boats have had great success in the Gulf, I am sure that the risk vs. gain is still being debated today.

Anyway, it is good to hear that the crew is safe and that the ship survived. They have a tough road ahead, and as mentioned before, they will get more "help" than they ever wished for.

Jim C.
Also Retired ANAV

3/22/2009 11:28 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Eng sez:
Re. #2 - "the Navigation Rules do not really apply if neither a nor b above are met." I'd love to be the real-world lawyer (or judge) that heard this argument in this case. The 'smack' would resonate, as "in sight" means knowingly operating in close proximity...not "photon connected to retina." Just my 2 centavos.

Went back and reviewed Rule 3 just for S's & G's:

"(k) Vessels shall be deemed to be in sight of one another only when one can be observed visually from the other."

MY interpretation of this rule is that there is an assumption that BOTH vessels can be observed by one another, wether they have their heads up their a$$es or not.

We'll see where this goes.

3/22/2009 11:59 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Jim C. Sez:
You may have this as a lookup but it is not for public consumption. So please be careful when discussing tactics, remember there are still a lot of forces ove there who rely on our discreetness.

ALWAYS, shipmate. I try my best to practice good Blog Hygeine. Thanks for the backup :)

3/22/2009 12:01 PM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

I honestly don't think the Rules of the Road are applicable for a submarine operating submerged, and let's be honest, at PD is submerged for all intents and purposes.

That's why we have so many extra things we take into account when at PD.

A quick google of the UK SMP 95 implies much the same thing.

3/22/2009 12:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is that white dry film on the USS Harford's hull?

3/22/2009 12:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is that white dry film on the USS Harford's hull?

Sorry that was me.

mike mulligan

3/22/2009 12:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an ex sub CO, I am very sorry to see all this and my heart goes out to the Captain and crew.
My last 'underway' in command was a dead stick move, after which I said a little prayer giving thanks that I had not hit anybody or anything.

3/22/2009 1:01 PM

Blogger . Becca . said...

I'm just glad no one was seriously hurt. They are very VERY lucky, considering the terrible situation.

It's scary to get a call from your husband who is deployed, saying "you'll probably hear something on the news tomorrow, but don't worry, it wasn't us."

3/22/2009 1:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

QUOTE: "What is that white dry film on the USS Harford's hull?"

mike mulligan

Mike that's probably the same white dried stuff you find on the corners of your mouth when you finish up with one of your boyfriends. you might want to invest in some knee pads and wet wipes.

3/22/2009 1:59 PM

Anonymous Soon to be XO said...

WRT "Even more comments seem to ignore the 27 January 2002, collision of USS Greeneville (SSN-772) with (LPD 5), the USS Ogden off the coast of Oman. Ogden's hull encountered GREENEVILLE's stern rupturing one of OGDEN's fuel tanks, also."
That is actually incorrect. A grey water tank was ruptured. The only oil was residual from this tank.
I am still looking, but it is addressed in the ROR that a submerged submarine must at all times keep clear of other vessels.

3/22/2009 1:59 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

I am still looking, but it is addressed in the ROR that a submerged submarine must at all times keep clear of other vessels.

It's on the same page that defines "Safe Speed" as "7 Knots" :-)

3/22/2009 2:30 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

it is addressed in the ROR that a submerged submarine must at all times keep clear of other vessels.

(In my best Star Trek "Scotty" brogue:) Ah, the ol' memory...she still be werkin'.

Not casting stones (just busting them), but this should be common knowledge amongst submarine officers...even fast navs and anavs. ;-)

3/22/2009 3:03 PM


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