Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More Info on USS Philadelphia Collision

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Bob Hamilton of The New London Day has some more information on yesterday's collision of USS Philadelphia (SSN-690) with Turkish merchant off the coast of Bahrain (annoying free registration may soon be required):

"The accident occurred about 2 a.m. local time while the Groton-based submarine was on the surface headed for Bahrain for a routine port call. The Turkish ship, the Yaso Aysen, was reportedly headed for the United Arab Emirates to take on cargo.
"Navy sources said the collision is likely to be a career-killer for Cmdr. Steven M. Oxholm, the captain of the Philadelphia, because the large freighter should have been spotted by both radar and crew members on lookout duty...

"A U.S. Coast Guard vessel was dispatched to the Yaso Aysen to offer assistance, but the Aysen was determined to be seaworthy, with only minor damage to its hull above the water line, and it continued on its way. The freighter was built five years ago in Japan, and reportedly there were 20 crewmen on board."

Captain Oxholm has been with the boat for quite a while; he relieved as CO when I was still in Groton. I had worked with him quite a bit when I was Engineer on Connecticut, and I remember him as being very professional. Despite all the good things Philly's done during his tour (including the award of the 2003 Squadron TWO Battle "E") this one "aw sh*t" will likely be enough to cancel out a hundred "attaboys". I do remember that he reached command in a kind of roundabout way... can't remember the details, and it shouldn't lead anyone to think that he wasn't qualified; after all, the boat did great for the 2+ years he's been in command.

While Philly is normally a DDS boat, I'm guessing she didn't have it on during this transit, as evidenced by her July transit through the Suez Canal without it. Depending on where the boat was struck, it might have been worse if the DDS had been installed. (If that last link doesn't work, click here, and go down to the 9th picture.)

Staying at PD...

6 Comments:

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

There had to have been a major crew distraction at the time, either an unfortunate drill or some mission detail. Radar and lookouts blind at the same time is odd, as you noted. Size of Turkish-flagged M/V Yaso Aysen is not given in news. Think it must be pretty small and could be wooden hulled.

Running lights? Has to be more to this story, hope ite enough to save Cdr. Oxholm. Vigilis

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

I'm hearing some rumblings that the freighter and sub were in the same ship channel; I've seen reports that the freighter was a 600 ft long ship, so it was pretty big. Possibly the freighter drifted across the traffic separation scheme?

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

I just found this Navy Times article that says the freighter was over 52,000 tons...

 
At 8:26 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

Well, have just read a related post and your comment at another blog, where an undercurrent of a potential crew situation was breached. May justice again be swiftly served.

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger loddfafnir said...

vigilis- I doubt there was much of a "crew distraction" at the time of the collision. it was 2am and they probably only had the piloting party stationed. Not being familiar with those waters I don't know how long they would've been on the surface before stationing the maneuvering watch. When my old boat "slammed" into the Saudi Makah I was in 9 man at my rack, putting on my topsiders and waiting for the maneuvering watch to be stationed and it was daylight and foggy when that happened. I’m not overly surprised to hear someone say that the lookouts and radar should've picked up the merchant. It’s a lot of little mistakes and communication errors that led up to our accident and I’m sure led up to this one as well. We’ll know more later when it all comes out in the investigation.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger fjballi said...

having only been off that boat a little over a year now. i know we were having problems with the radar system. i was a navigation ET on board. the radar would constantly burn itself out. plus, the old ANAV was the best seaman on the the waterfront. it wouldn't have happened had the old navigation crew been onboard.

 

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