Monday, September 05, 2005

One Submarine Story


Our friend Bubblehead, pictured memorably here, has a couple of posts at UltraQuiet No More about the recent collision between SSN-690 (Philadephia) and a merchant vessel. He questions International Rules of the Road. That reminds me of this experience, which although it broke up the boredom, killed the career of a truly gifted officer:

Somewhere in the Atlantic ocean. Our CO had given orders to maintain 10 miles CPA (closest point of approach - or, the minimum distance from our submarine) to the nearest vessel. The OOD, of course was aware of these orders and had constant radar and lookout updates of a nearing merchantman. The OOD insisted, however, we had the right of way as a warship!? About 04:35 he sounded our Collision Alarm.

Almost instantly, this became the very first and last time we would ever see our CO run to the bridge in his skivvies (there was humor in this, afterall). Collision was averted by a fast change of course within 300 yards. A week later, the Lt.'s personal luggage was on the pier before the crew even got topside.

The relieved officer was a mathematical genius (accurately performed fire control solutions in his head) as well as a fine, well-liked gentleman. He sometimes seemed to have unexplained difficulty with routine tasks, however, which had proven disasterous on other notable occaisions. I am guessing his boredom factor was unusually low. (Graphic for illustrative purposes only).

Looking forward to more info from Bubblehead on the Philadelphia outcome.

6 Comments:

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

As I said -- a vessel engaged in mine-laying always has the right of way...

 
At 4:13 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

Right, is a 'minelaying pennant' flown as notice to international mariners? Help me out here. am unfamtliar with minelaying. Like Rickover, I was once assigned to minesweepers.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

I think they have to rig several green lights in the shape of an outstretched middle finger...

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Lubber's Line said...

Come on gentlemen, everyone knows that a weekend stinkpot boater with a six-pack of beer in him ALWAYS has the right of way. It’s called “The Law of Gross Ignorance”.

Quiz, what do you do if you have an intersecting course with a Tug and Tow, weekend boater answer “split the difference”.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

Lubber, I am guessing you are a sailboater, too.

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger Gummitch said...

I thought it was "The Law of Gross Tonnage", as in, you hit my submarine and I have to paint the deck to cover the splotch your wreckage made.

I used to puzzle my QMs with the question, what is the day shape for a sailing vessel under sail? When it is running an engine, it hoists a cone, point down: what about sail only?

--duh, a big SAIL!

Another good one is day shape for pilot: boat with the word "PILOT" painted on the side! (oh, yeah, usu. also black hull, white superstructure).

 

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