U.S. submarine damaged in South China Sea collision

 A nuclear-powered Navy submarine has been damaged in a collision in the South China Sea, injuring U.S. sailors but leaving the multibillion-dollar vessel operational, officials said.

Oct. 8, 2021
photo: © Ray Narimatsu/U.S. Navy

The collision occurred on Oct. 2, but was not disclosed until Thursday. A Navy official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, said keeping the matter quiet for several days allowed the crew of the USS Connecticut time to travel back to Guam, where the attack submarine is expected to arrive soon. Sailors suffered minor and “moderate” injuries, the official said, without specifying the extent of them.

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition,” the Navy said in a statement. “USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed.”

The Navy said in its statement that the service has not requested assistance to respond to the mishap, which was first reported by USNI News. The service plans to investigate what happened. The Navy official said it is believed the vessel could have collided with an inanimate object, such as a submerged shipwreck or shipping container.

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