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Broken
09 Jan 05,, 17:13
The nuke sub USS San Francisco ran aground west of Guam, killing one and injuring 23 Article (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/09/national/main665669.shtml) . Evidently she took heavy damage. Anybody here know what really happened?

Franco Lolan
10 Jan 05,, 02:10
how does a sub run aground? Were they smoking pot?

This gets me to think that the article I posted earlier speaking of poor USN officers might be right.

Franco Lolan
10 Jan 05,, 02:37
http://globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/ssn-711.htm
In early January 2005, the USS San Francisco, while on its way to making a routine port visit to Brisbane, Australia, ran aground and hit the ocean floor, approximately 560 kilometers south of Guam, in the middle of the East Marianas Basin. The incident reportedly caused one critical injury and a number of minor ones to some of the submarine's crew. The critically wounded sailor later died of his injuries. Initial reports indicated that the submarine's hull was intact and that the submarine's nuclear reactor plant had not been damaged. The submarine resurfaced following the accident and proceeded to return to its homeport of Guam.

Franco Lolan
10 Jan 05,, 02:37
Other recent US sub incidents–the USS Hartford
The incident with the USS San Francisco is somewhat reminiscent of another US Navy submarine mishap in November 2003, when the USS Hartford, of the US 6th Atlantic Fleet ran aground in the Mediterranean Sea north of Sardinia. In this case, though, the US navy sought to hush the incident, which it did successfully for a month until relatives of the Hartford’s crew began speaking to the press about the reasons behind the submarine’s early arrival to its home port Sardinian base at La Maddelena, Italy.
Italian officials were furious with the US Navy for its cover up of the incident. One US naval official speaking with Bellona Web on the condition of anonymity after the accident, said Washington had “admittedly tried to keep a lid on the accident.”
The USS Hartford—also Los Angeles class submarine—hit the rocky sea-bed of the Mediterranean on October 25th, 2004 with such force that rudders, sonar and other electronic equipment were severely damaged, the US naval official said. The 114-metre long USS Hartford had left its Sardinian base at La Maddelena carrying Tomahawk missiles, possibly loaded with nuclear warheads, though US naval sources would not confirm this information at the time of the incident and still have not.

http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/nuke_industry/co-operation/36878.html

Franco Lolan
10 Jan 05,, 02:38
Italy furious after US Navy tried to cover up sub accident
The US Navy covered up for nearly a month an incident during which a 7,000 tonne nuclear powered submarine from the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet in Italy ran violently aground in the Mediterranean Sea north of Sardinia last month, a US Naval official confirmed Thursday.
Charles Digges, 2003-11-13 20:13
The US Navy—by its own admission in an interview with Bellona Web—sought to cover up the accident until relatives of the vessel’s crew, who spoke to US papers about the sailors’ early return after the accident, made the incident impossible to conceal.
The Los Angeles class submarine, the USS Hartford, hit the rocky sea-bed of the Mediterranean with such force that rudders, sonar and other electronic equipment were severely damaged, the US naval official said. The 114-metre long USS Hartford had left its Sardinian base at La Maddelena carrying Tomahawk missiles.
A near miss
The USS Hartford was sailing east past the island of Capera where, soon after midnight on October 25th, it ran aground. The US Navy, said the naval source in a telephone interview from Washington, had “admittedly tried to keep a lid on the accident.” But US naval brass were apparently trumped when relatives of the submarines crew found out that the submarine’s scheduled six-month tour of duty was being cut short a month after it began and leaked the story to local media outlets, the US Naval source said.
The naval source added that after “temporary repairs in Italy that will make it seaworthy,” the USS Harford will cross the Atlantic to the Norfolk, Virginia dockyard for full repairs. The naval source said he had not idea how long the repairs would take.
The naval source said that the Hartford’s reactor had suffered no damage and the crew had suffered no injuries. But the Sixth Fleet’s image, in the eyes of its Italian hosts, sustained a heavy blow. Reaction in Italy—both to the discovery of the cover-up and the incident itself—has been rage.
Rage in Italy
"It's the umpteenth demonstration not only of the grave risks to which the civilian population is exposed [...] but also of the culture of silence that invariably covers military activities in Sardinia," Italian Green Party MP, Mauro Bulgarelli said in Parliament, according to the Independent. "Our country was denuclearised nearly 20 years ago, due to the wish of the overwhelming majority of the Italian population. It is unacceptable that, thanks to American troops based in our territory, the nuclear risk should be reintroduced. In another age, that would be called colonisation."
Italy’s Minister of the Environment, Altero Matteoli, said that the USS Hartford incident was “a serious incident" and said an official had been sent to investigate, the Independent reported. But, Matteoli said that "first reports [from the site of the incident] did not mention environmental problems."
Immediate firings
In spite of what appears to be a lucky near miss, the incident’s gravity was underscored by the fact the both the USS Hartford’s captain, Commander Christopher Van Metre, and his squadron commander, Captain Greg Parker—who was also on board at the time the sub ran aground—were immediately fired, said the US navy official. When the USS Oklahoma, another US submarine, hit a Norwegian Merchant ship east of the Straits of Gibraltar last year, that subs captain was only fired two weeks after the incident, the US navy source said.
A spokeswoman for the US Sixth Fleet, which is based in Gaeta, near Naples, told the Independent Wednesday that the two officers were immediately removed from their posts because their commander, Rear Admiral Stephen Stanley "no longer had confidence in their ability to command." Six other crewmembers, including two officers, have also been disciplined.
http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/nuke_industry/co-operation/31750.html

Franco Lolan
10 Jan 05,, 02:39
Another one:
"The last major incident regarding a U.S. Navy submarine was in 2001, when the U.S.S. Greenville crashed into a Japanese fishing vessel off the state of Hawaii. Nine people - Japanese men and boys - were killed. The commander was later reprimanded and was forced to retire."

Franco Lolan
10 Jan 05,, 02:41
How have these incidences been occuring? The USN needs to get its act together in regards to these incidences. If USN subs can't avoid running into underwater obstacles, how are they going to be able to defeat advanced enemy threats?

Broken
10 Jan 05,, 04:40
How have these incidences been occuring? The USN needs to get its act together in regards to these incidences. If USN subs can't avoid running into underwater obstacles, how are they going to be able to defeat advanced enemy threats?

Yep, it seem kind of odd that these boats keep banging into things. Especially considering the sensor suites they carry.

Franco Lolan
12 Jan 05,, 05:05
Naval persons, please write!

Broken
12 Jan 05,, 05:10
Naval persons, please write!

Latest reports are that they ran into a mountain. An undersea mountan, of course.

Franco Lolan
13 Jan 05,, 02:26
How? How does a sub run into a MOUNTAIN?

Bill
13 Jan 05,, 02:36
Same way a plane does, except that it's underwater.

Franco Lolan
13 Jan 05,, 02:46
LOL. Doesn't a sub's navigation/sensor equipement help it aviod obstacles such as mountains?

Bill
13 Jan 05,, 02:49
Don't a pilot's eyes and radar help it avoid mountains?

Shiit happens bro. Submarines are dangerous, just the way it is.

highsea
13 Jan 05,, 03:06
Subs don't like to run with active sonar going. They prefer to stay quiet. The sub was where it was supposed to be, but the seamount was not on their charts. This is not as uncommon as you might think, when you get out of US waters, the ocean cartography can be pretty spotty. They were at 400 feet when they hit, so they obviously don't have GPS at that depth.

The other thing is that charts themselves are often off by quite a bit. I have been to bays in Mexico that were off location by over a mile, comparing the charts to GPS. Some of the charts in use today are over a hundred years old.

Obviously if they had been using their sonar, they would have seen the seamount. They were going 30 knots when they hit head on, it's a miracle they did not sink.

BTW, this is not something that's unique to the US, the Russians have lost several boats due to this, and the French have had a couple crashes too. It's just one of those things with subs.

Bill
13 Jan 05,, 03:16
Actually, at 30kts, even with active sonar they still might not have 'seen' the mountain.

Franco Lolan
13 Jan 05,, 03:29
Actually, at 30kts, even with active sonar they still might not have 'seen' the mountain.

Why not?

"when you get out of US waters, the ocean cartography can be pretty spotty"
How are the subs supposed to engage enemy effectively then?

I read of PLAN mapping ocean floor and temps in areas S China and Yellow Seas. Are we doing the same?

highsea
13 Jan 05,, 04:19
Actually, at 30kts, even with active sonar they still might not have 'seen' the mountain. The boat I run has a Furuno scanning sonar. I use it for chasing tuna, going into unfamiliar anchorages, etc. I can scan any direction out to 4000 fathoms with it. This is just a COTS system (though pricey, at 150K), and you can't miss bottom, even at max range. Even at 2000 fathoms, I get a second echo mark at 4000. I'm sure the USN has something a little more powerful. Even if they could not miss, at least they would have had a collision warning, a chance to blow ballast, grab hold, emergency reverse, etc. They surely would not have hit at 30 knots.

When you get out of US waters, the ocean cartography can be pretty spotty"
How are the subs supposed to engage enemy effectively then?
In high traffic areas, like around the Panama canal, the cartography is much better. In blue water engagements, you are using the enemy's own sounds against him, and he has no cover, other than thermoclines. The quieter you are, the better. In the littorals, the game changes significantly, because there are hiding places, undersea features that distort sounds, etc.

I read of PLAN mapping ocean floor and temps in areas S China and Yellow Seas. Are we doing the same?Yep. It's an ongoing process. And the seabed changes, earthquakes can shift the seafloor, magnetic anomalies change, etc.

Bill
13 Jan 05,, 09:44
RickUSN would know one way or another, he was a Dolphin.

Jay
13 Jan 05,, 19:41
And the seabed changes, earthquakes can shift the seafloor, magnetic anomalies change, etc.

Speaking of which, the latest earth quake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean has changed a lot of under water features, more imp depth had changed in and around straits of Malacca. We will soon hear about more mishaps in that area.

FYI...USN has already dispatched two ships to map Straits of Malacca.

Franco Lolan
13 Jan 05,, 21:39
Thats good. I hope they map the area around China pretty well. Chart the thermoclines too.

Franco Lolan
25 Jan 05,, 22:55
Danger Zone That Wasn't, and a Sub's Hidden Peril
By CHRISTOPHER DREW

Published: January 23, 2005


atellite images of the area where a nuclear submarine grounded two weeks ago clearly show a wedge-shaped undersea mountain that stretches across more than a mile of a desolate expanse of the South Pacific.

Military officials have said the mountain, which rises within 100 feet of the surface, was not on the navigation charts that the Navy uses. One sailor was killed and 60 were injured when the submarine, the San Francisco, smashed into the mountain, or a reef jutting out from it, at high speed on Jan. 8.

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The satellite images, taken in 1999 and early 2004, suggest that the mountain is part of a larger range of undersea volcanoes and reefs. And they show that it sits more than three miles to the northwest of the nearest possible hazard on the charts.

Scientists who have studied the images say it is likely that the submarine's officers believed they had safely skirted the danger zone - with the vessel about 500 feet below the surface - only to crash head-on into the mountain.

David Sandwell, a geophysics professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said it was also possible that the danger zone - an oval area described as containing "discolored water" - was a mistaken and poorly located reference to the undersea mountain.

Defense Department officials have said that the notation dated to the early 1960's, and that it probably came from a surface ship that had spotted murky water. The discoloration could have been a temporary problem, like an oil slick, or a hazy indication of an undersea structure.

But the satellite images do not show any obstacles in that danger zone. And because it was hard for ships to get a precise fix on their coordinates before satellites came into wide use, Dr. Sandwell said, it is likely that the murky water was an early sign of the undersea mountain, and that the sailors who spotted it simply charted it in the wrong location.

"It seems relatively clear that that's what happened," he said.

Navy officials have said that the San Francisco, a nuclear attack submarine, crashed into the mountain 360 miles southeast of Guam on its way to Brisbane, Australia, a popular liberty port for sailors. Its bow was severely damaged, and 23 sailors were hurt too badly to stand watch as the vessel limped back to Guam.

The exact location of the crash remains classified. But the undersea mountain shows up on the satellite images at 7 degrees, 45.1 minutes north latitude and 147 degrees, 12.6 minutes east longitude.

The Navy is looking into the crash, which occurred in a little-used area that has never been systematically charted. Last week, the Navy reassigned the vessel's captain while investigators examine whether he should bear any blame.

The main chart on the submarine was prepared by another agency within the Defense Department in 1989. Officials at the charting office have said they never had the resources to use the huge volumes of satellite data to improve their charts.

The submarine was traveling at more than 30 knots - close to its top speed - when the accident occurred. Scientists said the images were taken by the government's Landsat 7 satellite.

Besides relying on charts, submarines also receive fixes from navigation satellites and take soundings of water depths. According to officials, the San Francisco's officers have said they took a sounding just four minutes before the crash, and it indicated that the vessel was still in 6,000 feet of water.

It is possible that the San Francisco could have detected the undersea mountain if it had used its active sonar system. But since early in the cold war, submarines have avoided using active sonar, which emits loud pings that can give away their location. Even on training missions, they practice operating silently and rely on passive sonar systems that can detect only ships and other objects making noise.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/national/23submarine.html?oref=login

Bluesman
26 Jan 05,, 05:57
I got some dope on this incident yesterday from one of our sub-riders.

He says the community doesn't think the skipper gets a ding for this, and they tend to be harder on each other than any board would be.

This boat was in excellent order and had a crack crew. No contributing factors have come to light yet, but the investigation may have something further.

As it stands, though, this is looking like a bad break, not poor seamanship.

Bill
26 Jan 05,, 07:28
Thanx for the dirt Blue.

Rhodan
26 Jan 05,, 07:49
I got some dope on this incident yesterday from one of our sub-riders.

He says the community doesn't think the skipper gets a ding for this, and they tend to be harder on each other than any board would be.

This boat was in excellent order and had a crack crew. No contributing factors have come to light yet, but the investigation may have something further.

As it stands, though, this is looking like a bad break, not poor seamanship.

I have no doubt it was incorrect charts that were mostly to blame. I do wonder, if it was known the charts were very old, why the boat was traveling that fast and taking soundings that far apart? Note my words though - "I wonder". I don't mean to cast any aspursions; hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Just seems to me that if the chart data is 100 years old, you'd be somewhat skeptical of its contents...

People are under the delusion that all this wonderfull technology we have is as shown in the movies. Truth is that the movies exaggerate, bend the truth, and outright lie whenever it suits the storyline. Prime examples are;

1) People move around a building using the ventilation ducts... Well, first off - ducts aren't usually big enough! Second, ducts don't run unimpeded all through a building. There are several fan units (which are squirrel cages and not propellers) and each unit/duct system only serves a a couple of rooms at most. Fire regulations explicitely forbid any type of system that would allow smoke to move unimpeded through a building - even just between a couple of rooms.

2) All sprinklers in a building going off at once - they don't! Each head has a fusable link of some sort. Usually metal that melts or a liquid filled glass bulb that pops. When heat from a fire reaches a certain temperature, the link is broken and that ONE sprinkler head turns on. No spinkler systems will turn on because the fire alarm is ringing - they're all single-activation types. Think about it, why would anyone put in a sprinkler system that would do massive amounts of damage simply because some kid pulled a fire alarm as a joke?

Military technology is the same. Sure, there are satallites that can take pictures of individuals on the street but - you have to know *exactly* where to point the camera AND the satellite has to be in the proper position. Since satellites are orbiting the earth, that can only done during a short timeframe with long period out of position.

Radar and Sonar are nowhere near as good as portrayed in most movies. While I was a marine engineer (sort of like a snipe to you US types) and not a radar or sonar operator, I did have occasion to observe these systems in action. Unlike TV, when a Sea King helicopter dips its sonar, the screen shows a mess of noise which can mask targets. Thermal layers can completely block sonar, skips can mask targets near the surface or a thermal layer etc. It takes a lot of skill to interpret the information presented. Radar is somewhat better but still not nearly as perfect as the entertainment industry portrays.

And of course, you have to have these systems ON for them to actually detect anything. Once you broadcast, everyone knows where you are - so usually you keep everything off until you're actually attacking something.

Submarines run blind most of the time. There are no windows (obviously) to see where you're going. Captains rely on inertial and gyroscopic navigation systems in conjunction with dead reckoning while underwater. Periodic snorkling lets them correct errors by checking against GPS etc but while underwater and silent, its just that navigator with his chart that they rely on.

Submarine accidents like this are expected. The military doesn't like to talk about it (would you?) but believe me, it comes as no suprise.

Broken
28 Jan 05,, 01:15
*


http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=21182

Not much left of the bow. That sub took quite a lickin'.

Bluesman
28 Jan 05,, 08:18
*


http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=21182

Not much left of the bow. That sub took quite a lickin'.

A wreck THAT BAD, half the crew injured, and they still saved the boat. That tells me this skipper had his feces coagulated. Damage control, emergency procedures and competent command were all workin' right, so what my pal tells me seems to be borne out: this boat was doing fine, right up until it wrecked.

I'm going to read this report as soon as it's out.

Rhodan
28 Jan 05,, 17:08
*


http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=21182

Not much left of the bow. That sub took quite a lickin'.

I'm not sure but, it doesn't look like the pressure was breached. Been a long time since I saw the layout of a nuke sub, cant remember how far back the inner hull starts.

wolfpack2040
15 Mar 05,, 13:54
With responce to the grounding the charts used for navigation is extensively reviewed and updated constantly before use.
First step is to see if the chart is the current one.
Second is to correct the chart via the notice to mariners. This publication has the corrections needed to add or remove from the charts.
Third is to be reviewed first by the Assistant navigator, then the navigator, then the Xo and Co.
After this process is done the chart is used by the Qmow and the Ood. It is the Ood job to navigate the ship and to report to the Co any odd events that are occuring. THe Qmow normal rounds are to ask permission to take a sounding this is to check the depth below ships keel. Then the Qmow reports sounding and if it concurs with the chart or not. After this step he will get the cordinats from the E.S.G.N. and if surfaced, or at PD he will also get a G.P.S. fix. He will then plot the round on the chart and report if the ship is right or left of the track. The Ood will Check the round of fixes periodically. Also the Anav, Nav, And the Co will also check to see if the ship is on course. If they are not checking then they are not doing there job.

I served on a Battle E boat for Four years in the Atlantic Fleet before withdrawing from the military.

wolfpack2040
15 Mar 05,, 14:10
I'm not sure but, it doesn't look like the pressure was breached. Been a long time since I saw the layout of a nuke sub, cant remember how far back the inner hull starts.


If the pressure hull was breeched then this conversation would be different. For if the hull was breeched on the side or on the upper part of the hull there would be no recovery or sufacing for the forward part of the ship would be taking on to much water for the trim pump to handle let alone try to surface with half of the ballast tanks. From the picture of the damage it looks like the sonar sphere was severly damaged and the first two ballast tanks on the port side where either damaged or destroyed.

wolfpack2040
15 Mar 05,, 14:15
A wreck THAT BAD, half the crew injured, and they still saved the boat. That tells me this skipper had his feces coagulated. Damage control, emergency procedures and competent command were all workin' right, so what my pal tells me seems to be borne out: this boat was doing fine, right up until it wrecked.

I'm going to read this report as soon as it's out.



It doesn't really matter if the ship grounds or hits another vessle the Commanding Officer is relieved reguardless of who fault it is.

Blademaster
15 Mar 05,, 20:39
It doesn't really matter if the ship grounds or hits another vessle the Commanding Officer is relieved reguardless of who fault it is.

Why is that? It seems to me unreasonably harsh. Accidents happen and we need to learn from them.

If the sailors and officers are afraid to make mistakes for fear of being relieved, the Navy would never get that far.

Do you think the Commander made a serious mistake, thus a serious lapse in judgment?

rickusn
15 Mar 05,, 23:37
Why is that? It seems to me unreasonably harsh. Accidents happen and we need to learn from them.

If the sailors and officers are afraid to make mistakes for fear of being relieved, the Navy would never get that far.

Do you think the Commander made a serious mistake, thus a serious lapse in judgment?


Maybe he did,maybe not.

Im not totally convinced and hope to see the finished investigation report.

And then again he didnt have to make a mistake much less serious only a single person in his Commands smallest failure can be enough. The responsibility and accountabilty of Command

Its not really about being afraid for the best. Its about being accountable period.

I think maybe Tom Wolfes book "The Right Stuff" sums up the issues quite nicely.

Service in the USN is an amazing thing, even more amazing as Ive reflected on it over the years.

The first thing I learned at Sub school 28 years ago was that there are no accidents.

Its brutal I know.

This is such an extreme example (at least with the evidence Ive seen thus far) that it does seem a bit unreal.

I do have first hand knowledge that an Act of God can save a career.

It appears that this is not the case here.

Time will tell if this is so but its doubtful there will be any change in judgement either way.

And any mistake regardless of how small is enough for the action taken.

Breaks my heart. But then again my heart has many scars.

Scapegoating has unfortuanately been known to happen or at least attempted in the USN since the beginning. Human nature I guess?

But having said that the Commanding Officer is totally responsible for his command
its people and their actions or inactions, its platform and its equipment, its performance and condition. Not to mention themselves.

It s a hard thing to look in the mirror Every Day and see much less acknowledge where there might be or actually is failure no matter how seeminly small or insignificant.

I do it but even that certainly hasnt, doesnt or ever will qualify me for command. LOL And the process isnt much fun or even rewarding. But it will keep you brutally honest with yourself.

And even though those who have been chosen for this special position dont always understand the ramifications much less act like they do.

But all those I know who have had the rare honor of Command At Sea certainly did, have and do.

Its not a job for the faint at heart or those unable to bear an almost impossible burden.

Thats why to my knowledge youve never seen any whining, crying, *****ing or moaning by those relieved. But their supporters sometimes seem to.

Its not about "deserve" as Clint Eastwood said in the movie "Unforgiven" and life isnt about fair either.

Command is what Command is.

Having said this doesnt make reality an easier at least for me but I do understand.

Hope this sheds some light so that others may understand also.

Although Im quite certain by attempt at explanation is wholly inadequate.