Monday, September 05, 2005

USS Philadephia Collision Info and Thoughts

Crossposted by Bubblehead in Idaho from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Woke up to news this morning of Groton-based submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN-690) collided with the Turkish-flagged merchant M/V Yaso Aysen while transiting on the surface to Bahrain this morning. The Navy statement says there were no injuries on either ship, and Philadelphia is continuing on under her own power. (In collisions with merchants, the submarines normally make out the best, since their hulls are so much stronger than any surface ships hull.)

Chapomatic discusses how the "three kiss" principle applies in this situation.

Expect more coverage as additional information comes out over at our group submarine blog Ultraquiet No More.

Staying at PD...

Update 1036 05 Sep: The progressives at Democratic Underground display their ignorance (with a couple of notable exceptions). No discussion yet as to whether or not Bushitler ordered the collision as a way to distract attention from New Orleans or the new Chief Justice nomination.

The current AP article has a little more background and info:

"The USS Philadelphia was traveling on the surface of the Gulf when it hit the Turkish-flagged M/V Yaso Aysen at around 2:00 a.m. local time, said a statement from the 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain.
"The collision happened about 30 miles northeast of Bahrain, said Breslau...

"Breslau said the Turkish ship, a bulk carrier, suffered minor damage to its hull just above the water line.
"The ship weighed anchor at the site of the crash and a U.S. Coast Guard vessel was sent to offer help, Breslau said. An initial inspection found the cargo vessel to be seaworthy."


While this happened at night in a fairly crowded section of water, I continue to be amazed that U.S. Navy vessels continue to allow ships to get close enough to them in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, especially when we've heard reports that Al Qaeda hopes to blow up an explosive-laden boat next to a warship. Granted, submarines don't have the best maneuverability, and merchants frequently have few people on the bridge to communicate with, but it really is the warship's responsibility to keep clear if there's a chance the other ship might be trying to collide with you (there's nothing in the Rules of the Road about that... although I admit that the only thing I remember is "... a vessel engaged in mine-laying always has the right of way" or something like that.)

4 Comments:

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

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

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger geezernuke said...

Collision at 2am. I think it was pretty dark about that time. And unless things have changed significantly since I was at at sea in a submarine, on the surface, and near foriegn shores. The only time to turn on the lights (if they would come on) was after a collision.

About 6 years ago I was returning from the Bahamas to Ft. Lauderdale and in my sailboat at night. It was about 2100 and the entrance channel to Port Everglades was full of all manner of craft, from Gambling Ships to Kayaks, both comming in and going out. It was a real zoo and very hard to make out the lights of the vessels when approaching from sea because the lights of the city were both on the edge of the channel and in the background. From several miles out I decided that the only sensible thing for me to do was to stay well clear of the channel untill I was just off the end of the north jetty. I changed course to run due north and within a few hundred yards I discovered a vessel 50 yards in front of me that I hadn't seen. Yep, a submarine dead in the water, that I assume was of the US variety waiting for a saner time to enter the channel. It was easy to steer around her but I did not see any lights at the time. Later I looked back to see the familiar rotating amber beacon. They finally got it working I thought with a chuckle.

It will be very interesting indeed to get the real story on the "Philly".

 
At 6:30 PM, Blogger Gummitch said...

You *always* have your running lights on on the surface. Problem is that submarines by their design are in violation of the rules from the get-go, as far as horizontal separation and such. Not to mention that the stern light, on the rudder, covers much more than the required 135-degree arc.

That's why there is the submarine beacon, the flashing amber light. That's what is not normally energized unless you want to emphasize that you are there. On my first boat, it mounted on the scope fairing and did a good job of blinding anyone looking through the other scope.

Submarines are hard to see, and look a lot smaller than they are when you do see them.

As for distance, SOP is to keep at least 4000 yards clear from other ships: not always possible, of course.

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger Swimming Freak said...

Before I turn 30, I must have Pool Liners Oregon
and all the good times that come with them!

 

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