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.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dependents Cruise From Hell

The Indian frigate INS Vindhyagiri (F42) apparently sank at the pier after colliding with a cargo ship while returning to port in Mumbai after a dependents cruise. From Times of India:
The 29-year-old Vindhyagiri and 17-year-old Nordlake collided in Mumbai harbour at around 4.45pm on Sunday, when the warship was returning from 'A Day At Sea' with around 400 navy personnel and their families. An escort had been guiding the Nordlake, a container vessel, through the harbour to reach open sea at the time. It was the fourth major collision in the harbour since March 23, 2010, sparking concerns about the safety of the navigational path.
Later on Sunday, a fire began in the engine room of the 3,000-tonne Vindhyagiri and spread. The warship was taken to the Naval Dockyard and evacuated, while the blaze was brought under control by firefighters of the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai Port Trust and Mumbai fire brigade by 3.45 pm on Monday. Mumbai fire brigade officials said naval personnel underestimated the fire and informed them too late.
Naval officials blamed the Nordlakes crew and said a third ship was also part of the confusion that led to the crash.
Vice-Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, commander-in-chief of the Western Naval Command, told TOI on Monday, "We have investigated and it is clear that the Nordlakes crew is to blame. Vindhyagiri was returning from the sea with another vessel, MV Sea Eagle, when Nordlake was leaving the harbour. There was immense confusion between the crew of the Nordlake and the Sea Eagle. Finally the crew of the Nordlake panicked and turned the ship, ramming it the engine room and boiler of the Vindhyagiri, which was travelling at low speed. Her fuel tank also ruptured due to the impact.
Bhasin said records of communication between the Nordlake and Sea Eagle show the confusion. "The two ships first wanted to pass to the left of each other. A few minutes later, they decided to pass to the right of each other. Again a decision was taken to pass to the left of each other. As they came closer, the Nordlake crew panicked and turned right. As a result, the ship rammed into the INS Vindhyagiri.
Have you ever had a scary encounter with a merchant?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS PLUNGER collision with merchant off SOCAL in the mid 80's (84 or 85).

Screw marks across bow. Knocked our FWD escape trunk DSRV mating surface down and clipped our FW plane.

It happened while coming to PD on the midwatch. I was the QMOW, we never heard anything on the WQC. Sonar was not tracking the contact.

Merchant never stopped as it was heading to LA/Long Beach Harbor.

We got lucky!

Jim C.
Retired ANAV

2/01/2011 6:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was on USS Jacksonville when she hit a Turkish freighter on the surface in the early 1980s. Jacksonville is lucky to still be here.

2/01/2011 6:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I was on my ship (LHD) in 2005 in the approaches to Naval Station Norfolk. We had zero vis..and I called a merchant and arranged a port to port passage. He didn't budge, so I kept moving ever so slightly stbd while watching the radar. When we were abreast of each other, we were maybe less than 200 yards apart. After that fiasco, we had to anchor out because of 70knot winds..and kept dragging anchor. Another day out at sea.

2/01/2011 7:54 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Entering Yokosuka in mid sixties on SEADRAGON and had to slip to the edge of the channel as TOKYO MARU (the largest merchant in the world at the time) steamed by acting as if we were a junk. An earlier encounter with a merchant on BARBEL made the appendix of BLIND MAN's BLUFF ('nuff said).

2/01/2011 10:09 AM

Anonymous AC said...

I was a JO on the USS PHILADELPHIA in '05, when we collided with a 50,000 ton Turkish freighter in the Persian Gulf. Our dumbass ENG (one of 5, count'em- FIVE Engineers we had in about a 1 year period) was OOD. We were ahead of schedule, so cruisin' in on the surface at about 5 kts. I was asleep at the time (it was 3 AM), but in the darkness, no one (except an FT3 on the scope, who reported it but was ignored by the XO) realized that the freighter was constant bearing, decreasing range. It ran over us from behind, almost throwing me out of my bunk. We were locked together, our stern planes wedged into their hull, for about an hour, until we filled the aft ballast tanks to push the ass end of the boat low enough to get free. All the crew who weren't doing anything, including me, were acting as human ballast in shaft alley.

It was terrifying for about 30 minutes or so.

2/01/2011 10:20 AM

Blogger Below Decks Watch said...

i think a merchant ship is the one thing that the Hartford hasn't hit. but there is still plenty of time to finish that qual-card.

2/01/2011 10:54 AM

Anonymous subguy said...

Back in early 80s we were entering San Diego via the deep channel. A big black ship was outbound center of channel at high speed. We moved to STBD as much as we could and nearly nailed a buoy. As ship passed, we could feel a breeze on the bridge and saw many people looking nearly straight down at us. I observed our lookout render a superb two handed middle finger salute. Learned later it was the Royal Yacht Britannia...

2/01/2011 12:33 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Submarine OD's stubborness on collision course with merchant and an even stranger career aftermath for him.

2/01/2011 12:43 PM

Blogger Jon said...

I was aboard the USS USETAFISH (a CGN) in '96 when we pulled into Pearl. As we were being swung around so that the pointy end pointed out, the tugs got a bit over-zealous and pushed the flag pole on our stern into an oiler that was pulled up to the peir on the other side of the channel.

We sat there and watched as they sounded the collision alarm, then watched as our flag pole got knocked off of its' hinges and sort of hung off the stern attached by a very bent up single hinge.

Not a thing we could do about it, but it was still on the Captain's butt that we had the incident in the first place. He went over to the oiler and gave a personal apology to the Captain over there, and all seemed to be well afterwards. I think their Captain understood that there was nothing we could do while in the power of a couple of tugs, and I expect that the tug Captains got a bit of a talking to.

(Ship's name concealed to protect the Captain, since I thought very highly of him.)

2/01/2011 2:22 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"i think a merchant ship is the one thing that the Hartford hasn't hit."

If ya listen to the open-mic audio, they actually thought it WAS a merchant that ran 'em over (even though ESM had been reporting a SPS-73 on a constant bearing/increasing SS for the last 15 minutes).

Most nervous I've ever been around a merchant? Coming through the doglegs outbound Norfolk with a box ship passing Thimble Shoal light and another one about 800 yds off HIS stbd quarter. We didn't see the second one and he didn't see US. We worked to the right side of the range leg as the second merchant maneuvered to overtake the leading one to port. Half a second of HOLY SH1T as we both saw each other for the first time. He ducked back in behind the first merchant and waited until we had passed. Only lasted a couple of minutes, but definately got the pulse up.

2/01/2011 3:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Subguy:
--Prince Charles was likely on Britannia. He had just completed a "social call" to San Diego.

2/01/2011 4:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boomer in the box, mid 70's. Mid patrol, squirrelly 2nd class on the BQR 2, one ear off, and picking his nose.He was Sup, and sent one operator out for coffee run, other on BQR 20, when tophat lights off.A
VLCC passed close above and sucked us to broach. The burn on the BTR was short, but very wide. He wasn't a Sup 15 minutes later. The cold war's best.

2/01/2011 4:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I heard was "Holy Shit, Emergancy Deep, Sound the Collision Alam"

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

2/01/2011 4:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be "alarm"

2/01/2011 4:40 PM

Anonymous GunnerGreg said...

I've been on the OTHER side of near collisions with Navy ships (and even a submarine). We were inbound to a Florida port in '96. The Chief Mate had the watch. He refused to alter course when "requested" to do so by an outbound sub's escort (you can guess which kind of sub). I sorta slid over to the phone and buzzed the Master and suggested he come up to the bridge. He arrived in time for the second radio "request", and he stood there, silently while the Mate did nothing. When the third radio call came in as a "demand", the Master took the conn, altered course, then stopped the engines.

Funny thing. We had a new Chief Mate waiting for us when we docked...

I sailed with several Third Mates that would turn TOWARD a grey hull ship, just to be a jerk.

2/01/2011 5:07 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

I sailed with several Third Mates that would turn TOWARD a grey hull ship, just to be a jerk.

Never underestimate the value of cheap entertainment! One of those "Hold my beer and watch this" moments :)

2/01/2011 6:17 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Is that a bit like the joke that ends....this is the Point Loma Lighthouse, and we most certainly will NOT be changing course. Best I can come up with is being moored by the shore power cables.

2/01/2011 8:40 PM

Anonymous hamptonplankowner said...

18 hrs of erul watch for a dependents cruse out of groten on uss will rogers with a 15 min chow break for a cold sandwich with a packed cruse mess filled with blue crew dependents mostly i think in 1990 what a cluster f

2/01/2011 9:48 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

I remember playing target boat for the Constellation battlegroup while on the 728. Somehow a cruiser got lost in the mix of a communications breakdown between sonar and the contact coordinator. All I remember was that it was dinner time and we all heard "Emergency Deep". I was lucky I grabbed my plate, or my dinner would have been on the floor. ER watchstanders claimed to have heard the screws.


2/01/2011 10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Med deployment, late 80's, transiting the Straits of Gibraltar at 150 ft. All of a sudden we could hear the whoop-whoop-whoop of merchant blade passing directly above us (both through the underwater telephone, as well as the hull. As near as we can guess, it was a tanker, with his engine sounds being masked by his bow null. Anyway, scared the hell out of us!

2/02/2011 12:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterdays ratification of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel project made me reminisce my time as a JO on a MCM boat and the constantly held course and speed of the Fehmarnbelt ferries. There are four of them but only one berth at each end, so their schedule is so fixed (and close) they won't budge, least of all for any grey hull. So passing there was always -interesting- for my younger inexperienced self.

By next decade that will be history.

2/02/2011 3:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the end of a Patrol in the North Atlantic winter many years ago...less than a day left on a perfect communications uptime for the entire Patrol. You know what happens next. Merchant comes out of our baffles and runs right over us and our FWA....oopps! Instant loss of communications.

The most impressive was the ray trace from sonar for the close aboard looked just like it does in training!

2/02/2011 6:42 AM

Blogger Sparks said...

All I heard was "Holy Shit, Emergancy Deep, Sound the Collision Alam"

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

2/01/2011 4:39 PM

I had the watch in Radio. Didn't hear "Holy Shit" but Emergency Deep & Coll alarm scared the crap outta me! Real fun for a direct input's first patrol!

2/02/2011 8:53 AM

Blogger Lyle said...

Back in '06 when we were transiting submerged in the Straits, we caught a tow cable from a tug and tow across the sail and port fairwater plane on the USS NEVADA. I was the RO at the time, and it felt like we had broached until all four of us looked at the depth gage and realized that it was impossible; only to be confirmed by the OOD frantically yelling for the CO to the conn on the 1MC. Probably the best two weeks I've spent in port on the 733.


2/02/2011 3:11 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

We were in [REDACTED] and had a RotD at 700m; I was OOD, merchant zoofs us, CO on the CONN, could hear the engine and screws though the hull. Over the 7MC: "CONN, will all be over soon."

CO: "Radio, Captain: are we still in-sync on the floating wire?" "Captain, Radio: in-sync." CO to me "I guess it wasn't that close."

We had a laugh about that one for a while.


2/02/2011 5:47 PM

Blogger Thomas said...

Atlantic Fleet SSBN in the early 90s, doing a loss of comms drill (so we went shallow). The Captain put a fake contact into the sonar on a zero bearing rate trace to make the situation interesting. Funny thing was, there actually WAS a zero bearing rate contact on the same bearing that we couldn't hear because of the fake one. We figured it out when we heard the swoosh-swoosh-swoosh (and roar, to me it sounded a bit like a train going by, through the hull mind you) going right overhead, about the same time the FWA went away for real... good times. That was so bizarre I didn't understand what had happened until just afterward (My first and only boat, and I hadn't been there that long). "Naw, that couldn't be what it sounds like!"

2/02/2011 8:03 PM

Anonymous STSCM said...

Leaving Yoko, heavy fog, radar ooc, of course. Make a deal with the 594 behind us to let us follow him out. We barely get into the middle of the harbor, fogs so thick now that the 594 diappears, of course. With the scope up the piloting party could id mountains to nav by, but couldn't see contacts. Sonar was busy. Got to the point the CO wanted to go back when the XO reminded him we're already in the channel, if we turn we'll get run over. High Oh, off we went.
Why is it passing through the straits of Japan, we ALWAYS had to come to pd to copy the damn skid? Night, deep and running through in the outbound channel path, have to come up. 3 gazillion contacts, luckily all going one of two directions. Baffle clearing like the perverbial big dog, following a merch, CO says we'll come up on this leg in 5 minutes? Sitting there with the merch on our bow, suddenly notice the cav light on the BQA-8 blinking! Suddenly my PBB operator shouts saying he's losing all contacts! WTF! Then a noise coming out of both sides the the baffles, louder and louder, coalesing into one big ass PBB contact right on our nose! From Conn, "make your depth xx ft.!" Hate those days.

2/03/2011 7:36 AM

Anonymous Jim Armstrong said...

USS Pollack, Westpac '78. Patrolling somewhere in Sea of Japan.
I was on the throttles. We start coming up to PD. Suddenly hear a scraping noise across the top of the hull, and my cavitation lights come on solid, while my turns drop off suddenly. I add more steam to get the turns up, while having Conn screaming about the cavitation.
We finally get to PD, and the OOD whips the scope around to see two fishing trawlers being drug sideways, with their crews chopping feverishly at the nets.
Got an unscheduled 3-day visit to Chin Hae out of that, to fix our screw. Fishing net tore it all to hell!

2/03/2011 9:47 AM

Anonymous ex-ET nuc said...

Most interesting encounter with another vessel.....Hmmm, 2 stand out as pretty close.

1st. On the surface transiting back into Pearl, SS3-4, just approaching the airport runwayturn, and as lookout I catch a glimpse of color low to the water about 200yds ahead and slightly to STBD. Next wave shows an ocean kayaker about to be run down by us as we make the turn. The near miss caused our wake to swamp him and nearly turn him over. He was OK, but I bet he had quite a story to tell when he got back.

2nd. Pulling into San-Fran for fleet week with 1 ME disconnected, just past the Golden Gate Bridge, here comes a sailboat, under sail on a crossing course. Repeated radio contact has him shouting that we are the give way vessel and he's not about to change his course as he has a great tack on the wind and doesn't want to lose it. 5 blasts on the ships whistle, a back full, and a Coast Guard intervention later show that the guy is totally wasted/drunk, and he had his boat towed to the docks and confisgated/impounded.

2/04/2011 12:01 AM

Anonymous Cupojoe said...

I remember coming to PD in Asia and, when I did my safety sweep, my first thought was "Hey, that guy has a Chicago Bulls shirt on."

The CO didn't seem as interested in that as I was.

2/04/2011 2:09 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

Reminds me of an infamous OOD calling out a close contact as M/V NOSMO KING... Emergency Deep was next thing heard. It was actually a no smoking sign on the side of a mercy!

2/04/2011 5:11 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

Merchant even.

2/04/2011 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

April 81, East China Sea. SSBN 598 hiding from US planes dropping sonar buoys. Came to PD to look around. Ran smack into Japanese merchant, Nissau Maru. Crunched the sail, sank the maru, three Japanese crewmen went down with the ship. SSBN did not attempt any rescue, left the scene. Major international incident when Japanese destroyer picked up survivors three days later - "We were sunk by American submarine!" President Reagan had to apologize to Japanese Prime Minister. US paid big bucks to victims' families. Not a good patrol for the Georgefish. CO, OOD, QMOW, Sonar Sup all relieved/busted.

2/04/2011 5:58 PM

Anonymous ttv said...

ouch! that's really hurt!

2/05/2011 7:32 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

My favorite "close contact" story: On Station outside the territorial limits of Country Orange, NAV is OOD, I'm JOOD. NAV is pretty much blind. (Earlier in the mission, I'd relieved him on the 'scope and saw a Bear F heading straight for us.) He's been on the scope and reporting a ship with a 50' masthead height at about 12K yards. I relieve him on the scope and see that, rather than a ship with a 50' mast, there's a little rowboat with a guy sitting in the middle, effective MHH of about 4'. You do the math. (Seriously. I've forgotten the equation.)

2/05/2011 9:33 AM

Anonymous subguy said...

NOSMO KING...great one!

During recognition training for a CVBG, we were maintaining 2-4k with a couple of masts up for their lookout and OOD training. I was JOOD when the CO walked into control. When NAV ET announced that the CO was in Control, the OOD (on the scope) said "CO of the carrier is on his bridge. He is having a smoke. I believe it is a Marlboro..." That is when our CO yanked him off the scope! (we actually were over 3k away!)

2/06/2011 6:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I am the Surface OOD starting the midwatch on our surface transit into Norway because of all the freaking MODU's. It's late September, rainy, cold, at least a sea state 4, and a pooping sea. A contact appears at around 12k yds and is crossing in front of me from left to right. As we approach closer he starts making some awkward maneuvers. We hail him on the BTB and all we hear is some garbled English informing us he was a security vessel for his “cargo ship” and we were not to come within 6k yds of it. Our repeated attempts to talk to him fail and as I maintain my course but slow down and just let him pass in front, it apparently wasn’t good enough for him. The guy breaks right for me, starts shooting flares, and I am forced to make a hard rudder to the right to avoid him. The next thing I know, the pooping sea is now on my beam and I take a wave over the top of me. I am soaking wet and everything shorts out. I lose comms with below decks with the exception of the hand held radio and the CO takes the Conn. We end up maneuvering around this douche and proceed on. We changed out the bridge-box and I got to enjoy the next 5 hours of watch soaking wet and freezing my ass off.

2/08/2011 6:44 AM

Blogger ex-768 ENG said...

late 90s. SSBN in Bangor. Driving into the Straits of Juan de Fuca on the midwatch as the cowboy. TB-23 retrieved and we're heading in to the mouth of the straits between Tatoosh Island and Buoy Alpha. As I'm driving through the narrowest spot my sonar sup appears around the side of the ASVDU and says "Heads up, cause we're getting run over". And thus ensues near-field effect on the sphere, blade rate heard through the hull and the dive putting a down angle on the boat to keep from getting sucked up by the venturi effect. XO/CDO comes up and says "did we just shift fans?". My response: "yeah, one big one". Lesson learned: baffle clear before going through that choke point.

2/09/2011 9:11 PM

Anonymous sex shop said...

It will not succeed in actual fact, that is what I think.

10/08/2011 3:28 PM

Anonymous Captain Michael Lloyd, RNR said...

Speaking as a Captain in the British Merchant Navy for neary 40 years, we used to have one rule when in the vicinity of any US naval ship and that was stay clear regardless of the regulations as they too often disregarded them. We felt that this was down to their inexperience of navigation in coastal waters. Too often they failed to respond to communications either VHF or visual signals. The rule seemed to be the larger the naval ship the more regulations were disregarded. The worse were the coastguard. While on the USN Eisenhower as the RN liason officer I was surprised how the bridge watchkeeping allowed the operational affairs of the ship to intrude on their navigational responsibility.

12/21/2011 1:28 AM


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