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.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HMS Superb Suffers Submerged Grounding In Red Sea

The British Swiftsure-class submarine HMS Superb (S 109) grounded while running submerged in the northern Red Sea on Monday, the Royal Navy announced yesterday.

The 272-foot vessel had passed through the canal and was in the northern Red Sea when she grounded. No other vessel was involved.
An MoD spokesman said the submarine's nuclear reactor was "completely unaffected" and there was "no environmental impact" from the collision.
"There were no casualties and the submarine remains watertight, is safe on the surface and able to operate under her own power," he said.
The vessel is in international waters but unable to dive because of the damage to sonar equipment.
The Sub Report has many more links to this breaking story. The most recent similar accident, the grounding of USS San Francisco (SSN 711), is of course very familiar to American submariners, and I'm thankful that this grounding seems much less severe in terms of casualties.

Staying at PD...


Blogger John Byron said...

Bad lingo in the news blurb. "Ships" are to sail in. "Vessels" are to pee in.

5/30/2008 4:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they follow the American model....first the submarines show problems “USS Hampton” and fleet wide sub operation issues....then we almost lose a aircraft carrier in a fire...the G Washington.

We were wondering if the USA subs had some non nuclear sailors manning back aft...because of a severe shortage of fully trained nuclear sailors....the Brits are doing this.

5/31/2008 6:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, in the defintion per the rules of the road is:

The word "vessel" includes every description of watercraft, including non-displacement craft, WIG craft [Intl], and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water

6/03/2008 7:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To repeat: "Ships" are to sail in. "Vessels" are to pee in.

6/04/2008 4:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My boy is on HMS Superb. Assuming they all came through the 'incident' (and most of you will know more about that than I do- but the boat did sail head on into an underwater mountain, however that may have happened)- they made it to Aqaba. My worries only intensified when my son was able to call home and tell me that they have to make it through the Red Sea and the Suez canal.
It seems to me that a crippled boat, a Royal Navy submarine, has to travel though most of the middle east on the surface and very slowly. Every Muslim fanatic in the region must be lining themselves up to take a pop at her.
Any thoughts?

6/05/2008 4:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Probably nothing to woory about. They were probably escorted by Navy surface ships and other force protection assets.

6/07/2008 5:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Mulligan,

A Brit sub would not sail without full watches of qualified propulsion personnel. There are severe shortages but if a sub was undermanned to the point that they did not have the required number of "nukes" they would take someone off a boat that was in maintenance. It is ridiculous to suggest untrained sailors could man and operate systems in the Engine Room or sit on a Reactor / Electrical panel.

7/15/2008 1:53 AM

Anonymous Walt the Salt said...

When I examine junior officers for STCW, I constantly find myself having to repeat the old charge "the principal duty of the OOW while underway is the prevention of collision or stranding", drills and paperwork notwithstanding.

MikeM says it's "...ridiculous to suggest untrained sailors could man and operate systems.." Sadly, they do and it's not the training that's wrong, they all have umpteen perfectly executed course certificates, it's the wink and a nod toleration of too-brief seamanship experience and the over-reliance on single-source electronic navaids.

I know for a certain fact that some Captains entrust u/w night watches to officers whom they privately admit are barely capable of explaining the most basic steering and sailing rules. They do this because a replacement will very likely be worse, so you try to educate who you have as quickly as you can. Despite perfect passage planning logs, chartwork remains poor and patchy runs of SINS/GPS plots.

I haven't read any transcripts of the hearing but I would be unsurprised to learn that "SUPERB"'s C.O. was overwhelmed by gridlocked rules and procedures which finally frustrated his ability to command and control his boat in the way that he is "directed and required".

This is a wasteful tragedy all round, a good boat decommissioned early and careers that might have been useful now terminated. But the commanders of LSDs (large steel desks) pensions will be secure!

1/18/2010 8:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having served 'back aft' on HMS Superb firstly as a lower level stoker, then DG room watchkeeper followed by upper level and EP and shutdown I can catagorically state that no engine room watchkeeper was ever allowed to be on watch alone if he was not qualified. He may be qualified in the engine room but not qualified part three (qualified submariner)This is standard procedure. I can also state that from 1977 to 1983 this was the happiest and best boat in the fleet

2/19/2012 5:07 PM


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