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
. Pictures of USS New Orleans, which don't show any obvious damage like the ones of the Hartford
, can be found 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.
Labels: submarine incidents