Tuesday, May 31, 2005

NYT Article on USS San Francisco

Originally posted 2209 12 March:

(Intel Source: The Sub Report) It looks like the Navy is going on the offensive against perceptions that CDR Mooney of the San Francisco was punished for no reason. The New York Times has this article in tomorrow's paper (registration required) that has as it's sources "Navy officials" who gave interviews this week. Excerpt:

"Navy investigators have found that the officers on a nuclear submarine failed to take into account a variety of danger signs before the vessel smashed into an undersea mountain in January, Navy officials said in interviews last week.
"The officials said crew members on the submarine, the San Francisco, did not look at some navigational charts of the South Pacific that might have prompted more caution. The sailors also should have checked the water depth more frequently and should not have been traveling at high speed, the officials said."

Interesting. Hopefully one of these "officials" mis-spoke when saying that they should have paid more attention to South Pacific charts, since all indications are that the collision happened over 450 miles from the South Pacific... it'd be fairly ridiculous to hold all boats responsible for any weird chart readings within 500 nm. It's also interesting that they say that they should have taken more frequent soundings, and shouldn't have been going so fast. I'll be watching to see if they say they just shouldn't have been going so fast in general due to nearness to potential shoal water/minimal sounding data, or if this is related to whatever soundings beneath the keel they may have received before the grounding. While I recognize that the Navy's actions in firing CDR Mooney were probably necessary simply because of tradition, I still say that CDR Mooney just came up on the wrong side of the "big ocean, little ship" odds, and would venture that most fast boat skippers would have been operating the same way in the same situation.

Staying at PD...

Update 0849 13 March: Here's a longer version of the same article that doesn't require registration.


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