(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- Last fall, the USS Connecticut, a US Navy nuclear-powered submarine, collided with an uncharted underwater mountain (or uncharted seamount) in international waters in the South China Sea. The October 2 collision resulted in minor to moderate injuries to 11 crew members.
According to 19FortyFive.com, that was the first collision involving a US Navy submarine since 2005 when the USS San Francisco hit an uncharted underwater mountain southeast of Guam.
While such collisions are uncommon, it is impossible to completely avoid them since researchers estimate there are over 100,000 uncharted underwater mountains, some of which rise over 3,300 feet from the seafloor.
In the incident with the USS San Francisco, which occurred on January 8, 2005, the submarine was traveling at about 30 miles per hour when it struck an uncharted seamount. The collision caused significant damage to the vessel and 98 crewmen were injured, one of whom died of his injuries the following day.
While the submarine’s forward ballast tanks were ruptured and the sonar dome damaged, the inner hull wasn’t breached and the sub’s nuclear reactor suffered no damage. The crew was able to bring the vessel to the surface where it was escorted back to Guam for initial repairs before returning to Pearl Harbor.
An investigation into the incident determined that the San Francisco’s commanding officer, Commander Kevin Mooney, was at fault. The Navy investigation also found that the crew did not use the most up-to-date charts when plotting their course.
Mooney was relieved of his command and issued a letter of reprimand. Six crew members were found guilty of dereliction of duty and hazarding a vessel. They were reduced in rank and issued punitive letters of reprimand.
Twenty other crewmen received awards for their actions during the collision.