US Navy Announces Cause of Nuclear Submarine’s Collision in South China Sea

by Matthew Memrick

US Navy officials blamed a nuclear submarine’s collision in the South China Sea on an undersea mountain.

Business Insider reported on the news on Monday after a month-long investigation.

At first, officials said the USS Connecticut hit an unidentified object on Oct. 2.

The submarine is one of three Seawolf-class nuclear-powered attack submarines in the US Navy. Investigators said the sub went through an uncharted area in the sea.

An earlier Navy statement created multiple possibilities for the collision in international waters. Crew members suffered no life-threatening (moderate) injuries, and the submarine did not have any significant damage from the Oct. 2 incident.

Officials did not publicly say the location of the undersea mountain but provided the information to some reporters after releasing news of the collision.

Navy officials took their time to conclude the collision. Last week, they still did not have a cause but said indications narrowed the object to an undersea mountain. 

China Capitalizes On Investigation

The country, which has fought over territory of areas in the South China Sea, put out its own information about the incident.

Chinese officials accused the investigation of being a cover-up while calling Americans “irresponsible” for giving few details on what happened.

After the country’s alligations, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said: “It is an odd way of covering something up when you put a press release out about it.”

But Chinese officials continue to use the whole “lack of transparency” barb to deflect from its presence in the South China Sea. One website, Sandboxx, estimated that the Chinese Navy operates at least 300 ships in the area. 

One massive reason for the significant naval presence is the crucial shipping lanes of products coming to and from China.

In August, CNN reported that the US Navy had 34 ships in the South China Sea in various stages of production. Earlier this year, the Chinese Navy surpassed the United States’s Navy for having the world’s largest fleet.

Who’s At Fault In Navy Sub Collision

The Seventh Fleet commander will decide on any punishments or accountability actions, according to the investigation.

But, ultimately, we may never know. I mean, we don’t know the true extent of the submarine’s damage, right?

The public still doesn’t know how the submarine ran into the undersea mountain or if crew and command are responsible for going off-course.

While the entire investigation is not public knowledge yet, the submarine is in Guam getting some repairs. It may have to go to another site for more work. 

Business Insider reported that if the USS Connecticut has to go to a public shipyard for repairs, there’s no telling how long it will take for complete repairs amid a backlog of other ship repairs.