Navy Releases Report On Submarine USS Connecticut’s Underwater Crash

The Navy says preventable missteps by multiple personnel led to Connecticut hitting an underwater seamount, causing extensive damage.

byJoseph TrevithickMay 23, 2022 6:34 PM
A screengrab from a video of the damaged USS Connecticut arriving in San Diego in December 2021 following the underwater collision two months earlier.
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The U.S. Navy has released a heavily-redacted copy of the final report of its investigation into the Seawolf class submarine USS Connecticut's collision with an underwater seamount in the South China Sea last October. The review reiterated the Navy's position that the accident was preventable and, despite the redactions, outlines how it says actions by various personnel contributed to the grounding, which left the submarine severely damaged.

The Navy has now disclosed that the collision occurred while Connecticut was conducting a so-called humanitarian evacuation (HUMEVAC) transit in the direction of the Japanese island of Okinawa. HUMEVACs involve sailing to a location where one or more crewmembers can disembark for various non-emergency reasons. This can include "routine, non-emergent medical care," as well as things like a family member falling seriously ill or the premature birth of a child, according to official instructions and historical records.

"Connecticut grounded on an uncharted bathymetric feature while operating submerged in a poorly surveyed area in international waters. This mishap was preventable," according to the report's executive summary. After the accident, the submarine limped first to Guam, where initial assessments and repairs were conducted, before returning to its homeport in Washington State.

The incident "resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watchteam execution, and risk management that fell far below U.S. Navy standards," the executive summary continues. "Prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in any of these three areas could have prevented the grounding."

The Navy already publicly announced that it had relieved Connecticut's Commanding Officer (CO), Cmdr. Cameron Aljilani, as well as Executive Officer (XO) Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Cashin and Chief of the Boat Cory Rodgers, over the accident in November 2021. The newly released report also recommends nonjudicial punishments for the submarine's navigator (NAV) and assistant navigator (ANAV), as well as the officer of the deck (OOD) and quartermaster of the watch (QMOW) on duty at the time, the names of whom are all redacted.

A full copy of the redacted report is available here.

You can read The War Zone's full review of the report's unredacted contents here.

Contact the author: joe@thedrive.com

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