"Safety Stand Down Ordered for Subs"

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"Safety Stand Down Ordered for Subs"

Postby Malcom » Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:47 pm

Safety stand-down' ordered for Navy's submarine force

http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=117428&ran=182798&tref=po

By JACK DORSEY, The Virginian-Pilot
© January 11, 2007
Last updated: 10:14 PM

The Newport News collided with a super tanker. u.s. navy photo

Background: Navy says speed of tanker sucked submarine up to surface


NORFOLK - The Navy on Thursday ordered a safety review of its entire submarine force worldwide because of recent accidents at sea involving Norfolk-based subs.

On Dec. 29, two crew members were killed when they were knocked overboard in turbulent weather off the English coast, and on Monday a submarine and a super tanker ship collided near the Arabian Sea.

Vice Adm. Charles L. Munns, commander of Naval Submarine Forces based in Norfolk, ordered a week-long "safety stand-down."

It will involve all 52 operational fast-attack subs, the full fleet of 14 ballistic missile submarines and the four guided missile submarines. Eleven submarines are based here.

All of the Navy's operational submarines are nuclear-powered.

Munns' deputy commander, Rear Adm. Joseph Walsh, who heads the Pacific Submarine Force, will take similar action with Pacific Fleet
submarines.

"We've had too many tragic events during routine operations," Munns said in an interview Thursday.

The solution, he said, is to go "back to basics " and rehearse routine skills.

Submarines already at sea will continue operations but will review recent and planned operations. Submarine captains and crews will report their findings up through the chain of command.

The two latest incidents, coupled with four other significant submarine collisions in the past six years, led to the stand-down announcement, officials said.

Monday's collision between the Norfolk-based attack submarine Newport News and a Japanese super tanker happened in the Strait of Hormuz. No one was injured and damage was relatively light to both ships, the Navy said.

Preliminary findings in-di-cate the submarine was traveling from the Persian Gulf in an area that averages 320 feet of water. The tanker Mogamigawa, 1,100 feet long and displacing 300,000 tons of water, was passing overhead in the same direction, the Navy said.

The Mogamigawa was fully loaded with oil, meaning its keel could have been drawing up to 70 feet of water. It was moving faster than the submarine and created a "venturi effect," sucking the submarine up to its hull, the Navy said.

An investigation is under way, and both captains remain in command of their vessels.

In the earlier mishap, four sailors were swept from the deck of the attack submarine Minneapolis-St. Paul in rough weather as it was leaving port on the southwest coast of England.

The sailors were tethered to safety lines and were picked up by accompanying police boats, but two of the sailors died of injuries.

Of the major accidents over six years, the most serious occurred Feb. 9, 2001, when an attack submarine ran into a Japanese fishing and training vessel off the coast of Hawaii while practicing an emergency surfacing maneuver. Nine ship crew members were killed.

• Reach Jack Dorsey at (757) 446-2284 or jack.dorsey@pilotonline.com.
Malcom
 
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