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 26, 2010

This Could Be Bad

Initial reports are often suspect, but this BBC report that a South Korean naval vessel is sinking following a possible torpedo attack, if even halfway true, could cause things in Korea to get very hot very quickly. If true, it probably wasn't a planned attack, but some North Korean Captain who believed his government's propaganda and went too far.

According to Global Security, North Korea has 22 old Soviet Romeo-class diesel boats, and 4 even older Whiskey-class boats, along with 71 mini-subs. They also have hundreds of small surface ships that could potentially fire torpedoes.

Based on the reported crew size of the South Korean vessel, it could be a Pohang-class corvette that was attacked.

Staying at PD...

Update 1019 26 Mar: According to this report from The Sun (admittedly not the most authoritative source), the ship has now sunk, with dozens reported dead or missing.

Update 1513 26 Mar: The South Korean government is downplaying possible North Korean involvement until they get more information. I suppose it's possible that one of their corvettes had a catastrophic engine room explosion while it just coincidentally happened to be near the Northern Limit line. On the other hand, I'm hearing rumors of more weapons fire at sea. Remember, the ship was attacked on Friday night (their time), and right now it's just before sunrise on Saturday morning, so the entire rescue and investigation has been taking place in the dark.

Update 1528 26 Mar: As I suspected, the sunken ship is reported to be a Pohang-class corvette; it's identified in this article from The Korea Herald as ROKS Cheonan (PCC 772).

Update 1329 27 Mar: Although they don't know yet what caused the sinking, the South Korean government is all but ruling out North Korean involvement.

Going deep...


Blogger John Byron said...

An act of war.

3/26/2010 9:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is a big F@#$%@&# Deal"

Better get the lawyers together and seek guidance before any material responses from the palace.

3/26/2010 9:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to go hunting, I mean fishing with smart fish.

3/26/2010 9:40 AM

Anonymous Participant said...

"If true, it probably wasn't a planned attack, but some North Korean Captain who believed his government's propaganda and went too far."

Wha-huh, Joel? One of the most controllilng, totalitarian regimes in the world, and you think a PRNK sub skipper had a 'wild hair' day?


3/26/2010 9:42 AM

Anonymous "This is a big F@$#%!& deal" said...

Time to get the Pueblo back.

3/26/2010 9:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone sing along.... I'm so Ronery / So ronery / So ronery and sadry arone / There's no one / Just me onry / Sitting on my rittle throne / I work rearry hard and make up get prans / but, nobody listens, no one understands / Seems rike no one takes me serirousry / And so, I'm ronery / A rittle ronery / Poor rittle me / There's no one I can rerate to / Feewr rike a biwd in a cage / It's kinda siwry / but, not reawry / because, it's fiwring my body with rage / I'm the smartest, most crever, most physicawry fit / but, nobody erse seems to rearrize it / When I can the worrd maybe they'rr notice me / And untiwr then, I'wr be ronery / Yeaaaaah, a rittle ronery / Poor rittle me...

3/26/2010 9:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

America F*&%%*K Yeah

3/26/2010 9:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the NKs are looking for a some shock and awe?

3/26/2010 10:03 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

@Participant - I should have said it better. I don't believe this was a planned attack to try to start a war; I think it's more likely that the North Korean CO thought the South Korean ship was on "their" side of the Northern Limit Line, and followed SOP. Maybe he even called into HQ, and the duty officer told him to fire away. I believe the North Korean leadership, while they talk a big game, desperately wants to survive more than anything, and they know, deep down, that they wouldn't survive a general war.

Of interest, it doesn't look like the DPRK has issued even a standard press release praising "Juche" and the "Army First Policy" and threatening "powerful nuclear strikes" in response to the reports, so I think they're in the "Oh, shit, what do we do now" mode.

3/26/2010 10:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In related news, the sail of a Romeo class submarine on the surface can be mistaken for a buoy when viewed at PD.

OOD to QM "Any buoys on this bearing, approximately 500 yards?"

QM to OOD "Negative, but looking at the perivis, you may want to man battle stations."

3/26/2010 10:10 AM

Anonymous Participant said...

Interesting that they're praising " href="">Juche"...especially when you read what they purport it to mean.

3/26/2010 10:16 AM

Anonymous Participant said...


Interesting that they're praising Juche...especially when you read what they purport it to mean.

3/26/2010 10:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MSNBC sez....

SEOUL - A South Korean naval ship sank Friday night after an explosion tore a hole in the hull, but officials played down earlier suggestions that it may have been the result of an attack by the North.

U.S. officials told NBC News there was no indication that the boat was attacked, or that the North was involved in any way.

"It is not clear whether North Korea was involved," Presidential Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye told Reuters.

3/26/2010 11:52 AM

Anonymous tnt in the bilge said...

Funny how ships just blow up on their own... You guys on AD be careful, those things are dangerous.

3/26/2010 12:39 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

I would have a hard time believing that they would do something like this planned. I know NK leadership is crazy as bat shit, but I still think they are aware enough to know that they would get squashed.

I agree with the hypothesis that IF a NK torpedo was involved, it was probably not accidentally fired, but fired out of maybe confusion as to where the ROK ship actually was.

The NK government is probably in their "oh shit" meetings as we comment about this. Time will tell on the response.

Let's remember back though... think about the circumstances around the USS Maine (ACR-1) when it blew up in Havana harbor. Everyone blamed the Spanish when it really wasn't. Let's not jump to conclusions.


3/26/2010 1:08 PM

Anonymous feels like 1898 again said...


3/26/2010 1:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

--feels like 1898 again said...

Good one! LMAO!

I was at C7F during the 96, 98 and 99 incidents. Those weren't fun days for the Staff! Bet they are having fun today!

3/26/2010 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NK knows they have nothing to fear from Obama. Look for them to do some more very bad things.

3/26/2010 1:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well maybe the SK was made by government motors that might explain a catastrophic material failure.

3/26/2010 2:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rapid Deployment Legal Team (RDLT) REMFs are going to HALO in to insure that the NKs are read their rights and to see if they need any assistance.

Several ambulance chasers have been acquired to serve as backup for the initial HALO flush.

The a 5,002 page NK Clunkers Restoration Program was authorized ASAP without being read or being voted on.

3/26/2010 2:16 PM

Anonymous 2thin2fight said...

"...nothing to fear from Obama."

Nevermind the president, they have nothing to fear from an army spread thinner than condom on a teenager in whore house.

3/26/2010 2:22 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

2 Courts of Inquiry and the NGS concluded that an external explosive (i.e., a mine) had detonated outside the Maine's hull; Rickover's commission blames a coal bunker. The NGS wants it both ways with a computer-modeled coal fire/ explosion.

3/26/2010 2:47 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

True...but who do you believe Rickover or the other guys? I'd go with Rickover and the coal bunker theory. That's just me though.


3/26/2010 3:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Life is tough but it is tougher when you are stupid.” John Wayne

Friends don’t left friends be REMFs.

Life is tough, but it is tougher when you are a REMF.

Evade, Deny and Convolute

3/26/2010 3:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this business will get out of control, it'll get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it!

3/26/2010 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rudder Amidships,

Rickover would be the gold standard in ANYTHING involving getting to the bottom of something and finding out the truth.

3/26/2010 3:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is Jack when you need him?

3/26/2010 3:59 PM

Anonymous jack said...

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it.

3/26/2010 4:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't handle the truth!

3/26/2010 4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

3/26/2010 4:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that we'll all be just as understanding should one of our Navy ships 'mysteriously' blow up and kill dozens of sailors...and our military allies, such as South Korea, have blogs that make light of the situation.

3/26/2010 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is making light of the situation? It took a bunch of lawyers and 3 days to get rid of some pirates. How long do you think any intervention would take? How long did a decision for requested reinforcements for Afghan take, many months. Not a thing is going to happen in those regards until the political rodeo and fallout is determined.

Also, old ex-bubbleheads make tomfoolery of everything. Maybe you are a skimmer or worse, an aviator imposter?

What exactly would you have people to do, stand around and snivel and hold each other? Run around in chaos like chickens with no heads? The sky is not falling yet.

3/26/2010 5:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former allies of the U.S. are getting treated like crap these days. Countries like Iran and NK seem to get more courtesy than actual allies.

It is bad for the SK and any loss is surely a sad thing. May their families be comforted as they grieve.

Like the Rubber Ducky alluded to earlier, this might be an act of war.

3/26/2010 5:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is a big F@#&$&!% deal"

3/26/2010 5:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinda distracts world attention from Iran, doesn't it?

Fully expect Chavez to pull the next distraction when the media's attention on this wanes by next Thursday.

The real question is what Iran is up to right now. The four (Iran, the DPRK, Venezuela, and China) have been, and still are, operating in close coordination with each other. Therefore, a Chinese surprise is certainly not beyond the pale.

No longer our reliable watchdog, our media are now mostly hacks.

I am waiting for the scoop on this incident by the BBC, WAPO or the WSJ. Taiwan could be the real flashpoint. What help will they get from the U.S. under the current administration?

We live in interesting times, and just about everyone has been underestimating the risks of projecting U.S. weakness.


3/26/2010 6:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, seeing how China owns a bunch of American debt, Taiwan seems to be screwed if anything goes on there. Just opinions of course.

Whos idea it was to borrow from the Red Chinese Communist is a real kicker.

If McArthur had his way in the 50s there would be no N.Korea, China and Vietnam today. At least not a red commie problem. Hey, that was a democrat then, Truman fired MacArthur.

3/26/2010 6:18 PM

Anonymous secure the happiness said...

"and our military allies, such as South Korea, have blogs that make light of the situation."

Dude, bubblehead said we were at PD. If you were a bubblehead you would know that we are just passing time at PD waiting for the next fucking message. Chill...

3/26/2010 6:47 PM

Anonymous one bad man said...

Dan: You said, "The norks are pure evil" and, "when this regime falls it will make East Germany look like romper room." No need to hide from that. Judging anything or anybody as "pure evil" might be risky because it could be read as the judge is "pure good" - which is rarely the case - but it's hard to imagine anything good happening behind humanity's latest iron curtain.

3/26/2010 7:19 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

I can just imagine that they're having a whole lot of fun figuring out options over at CTF-74 in Yoko right about now. Can't imagine they'd be real happy with the conditions off the Korean coast, given what I remember of the area.

3/26/2010 7:27 PM

Anonymous scenario builder said...

If this really was a NK torpedo attack, how big would the cover up have to be for SK to deny it? US sonar tapes? Rather distinctive sound, that. 58 survivors? None of them saw anything in the water? Pictures from the bottom? Why would they want to cover up a thing like that? I don't know, why is SCORPION on the bottom? Belligerant, unstable, nuclear-capable communist regimes make nasty adversaries.

3/26/2010 7:42 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Whos idea it was to borrow from the Red Chinese Communist is a real kicker.

Unfortunately that's the "free" part of "free markets", anyone can buy or sell without government intervention. No one said capitalism is a fair game.


3/26/2010 7:48 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Man, it would be an exciting time to be on deployment in that AOR right now. Makes me itch to get back out there.

Except pancakes get old 3x a day...

3/26/2010 8:22 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Removed a comment at the commenter's request.

3/26/2010 9:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the commenter who bemoaned the fact that it took 3 days to handle the Somali pirate situation, remember that in April 2001, the Chinese held the crew of our U.S.N. EP3E reconnaissance plane for over a week, and held the plane itself for several weeks. Hand wringing by that administration also.

3/26/2010 9:35 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Illuminating quote from the SK's, that they don't blame the NK's right off. Self harm, floating mine from the unpleasant activities during the 50's or a warshot from the NK's are all possibilities, but a shot in the ass from a sub is just a little more likely.
Politicaly, why isn't the gov't of South Korea screaming bloody murder? Interesting weekend coming up. Rest in Peace South Korean sailors and I really hope the New world order makes your sacrifice worthwhile. If they cannot, I will appreciate your service. So much for the cold war adjustment.

3/26/2010 10:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Politically, why isn't the gov't of South Korea screaming bloody murder?"

Simple and same reason that we didn't make a fuss *publicly* when things went south during the Cold War: there's just no upside in that.

If the NK's did it, acting hurt will only instill glee. If they didn't, it'll unnecessarily antagonize them. If they did it and 'we' (the SK's) act like we don't know much the better.

Best to lay low - and fuck hard - when the opportunity presents itself...and just as deniably as when the other guy was turning the knife (if and as appropriate).

Can't really do that if you make a big fuss in the first place. Those who need to know will know if and when the score gets settled. Some games never change.

3/26/2010 11:12 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Pity, would have been a fine chance for the fleet to sink the NK navy at the dock or wherever they should be. We've been putting up with the naval pretensions of this tin pot dictator for much too long. Let's shorten his horns.
I'm doubting any survelliance will show a NK sub in the area, but so what? Take away the capability. Sinking them at the dock will take fewer lives than at sea. on both sides.

3/26/2010 11:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, you can't attack NK's pierside submarines without proof that they did this. That proof's likely not immediately forthcoming or we'd have all heard it by now, and any post-mortem proof is likely to be swept under the rug for the reasons given above.

A 'naked' (no cover) attack on NK's submarines would not likely play out well.


"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

- Mark Twain

3/27/2010 7:24 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

SK's have all but ruled out North Korean malfeasance, for what it's worth, according to Reuters. Ship is in 15-20 meters of water, which gels with what I remember of the area--not a fun place for boats. STRATFOR has a longer article, but I don't have a subscription.

3/27/2010 8:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD said...
An act of war.

State of war still exists. No peace treaty in 1953, just agreement to quite shooting. 2nd Division USA still manning demilitarized zone.

Me thinks ROKN ship probably ran over a mine. That area of coastal waters has been in dispute between ROK and NK since 53. There have been armed clashes in that area on a number of occasions.

There are a number of reports of public discontent in NK driven by starvation (again)along with military leadership discomfort with KJI trying to set up his son (educated in Switzerland I believe)as successor.

NK going to be pretty interesting place to watch over next couple of years.

China will be doing everything it can to maintain stability in NK. Last thing they want is NK collapse and millions of starving Koreans headed north over the Yalu river to get something to eat and stay warm.

My two cents and keep a zero bubble.........


3/27/2010 1:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I concur. That region has been on a hair trigger since the 38th paralell became the line. Remember back when the NKs came across and attacked a U.S. Army group that was cutting down trees and some of the Americans were killed in that foray by NK.


3/27/2010 3:49 PM

Blogger Liza B. Gonzalez said...

Oh, God help us!

3/27/2010 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe now NK's ships should start sinking for 'no reason' too

4/01/2010 1:23 AM


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