USS Connecticut collides with uncharted seamount in South China Sea
The object that damaged the USS Connecticut in the South China Sea was a seamount. This was announced by the official representative of the 7th Fleet Commander Haley Sims, reports USNI News.
As Sims noted, the seamount was not marked on the map. The results of the investigation of the incident will be passed on to the commander of the 7th US Navy Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas. He will determine the appropriateness of follow-up actions, including prosecution.
It became known on October 8 that an American nuclear attack submarine collided with an unknown object in the Indo-Pacific region. An emergency occurred during a dive. As a result, 11 sailors were injured, they received minor and moderate injuries. According to the US military, the accident did not affect the nuclear power plant.
The submarine under its own power arrived on the island of Guam in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. It was later revealed that the clash took place in the area between Hainan Island, the Paracel Islands and the Bashi Channel. After the accident, the submarine’s bow ballast tanks were damaged.
Possible causes of the accident
Aaron Amick, a veteran submariner of the US Navy, pointed out that the topography of the bottom of the South China Sea is subject to frequent changes due to tectonic activity. “Some areas of the South China Sea are very deep, with sudden changes into very shallow, almost vertical structures that can come to the surface,” the expert explained. That being said, measuring the depth of the bottom beneath a submarine may not give it enough time to evade an almost vertical topographic change directly ahead.
At the same time, the former commander of the Novomoskovsk nuclear submarine, Captain 1st Rank Igor Kurdin, named the only possible, in his opinion, cause of the emergency – a collision with another submarine. It was noted that due to the peculiarities of the aquatic environment, two submarines could find themselves in each other’s zone of “acoustic shadow”, and after the collision, one of the participants in the incident could disappear. Military expert and historian Ivan Konovalov suggested that the incident was due to the lack of professionalism of the military.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US should release details of the accident, including the exact location of the collision, the submarine’s mission and the possibility of a radiation leak.
History of USS Connecticut
In 2003, the USS Connecticut found itself in another unusual situation: the submarine surfaced in the Arctic and broke through the ice in the vicinity of the American research station. A polar bear in the vicinity studied the steering wheel sticking out of the ice for half an hour, and then attacked it.
USS Connecticut is the second submarine of the Seawolf II project. The submarine became the fifth ship in the US Navy with this name. Named after the state of Connecticut, where it was built by General Dynamics at the Groton shipyards. The submarine was laid down on September 14, 1992, launched on September 1, 1997. She entered the fleet on December 11, 1998.
In 2007, the sub was redeployed to the Kitsap base as part of the program to strengthen the presence of the US Navy in the Pacific Ocean. From 2012 to 2017, it was undergoing a major overhaul. After the circumpolar exercises ICEX 2018 in 2019, it was repaired at the Puget Sound shipyard.