US Navy Submarine Returns Home With Visible Damage After Striking Underwater Mountain

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by David Nagle/U.S. Navy/Getty Images)

The U.S. Navy had an interesting surprise over the weekend when a submarine reportedly returned home with visible damage.

According to the USNI News, the fast-attack, nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Connecticut, made its arrival on Sunday (December 12th) with visible surface damage. This latest impact issue comes after the submarine had a collision in the South China Sea. This incident reportedly happened on October 2nd. Officials concluded that the watercraft hit an “uncharted seamount.” At the time, Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, the commander of US 7th Fleet, fired the USS Connecticut’s command leadership.

Ship spotter, WarshipCam, posted the photo of the submarine pulling into the San Diego harbor with some noticeable damage to the bow. 

The media outlet also noted that the submarine’s sonar dome became inoperable as a result of the collision, making it unsafe to travel underwater. It will undergo additional repairs at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. It was unclear why the submarine pulled into the San Diego harbor to begin with. 

After the image of the submarine was posted on Twitter, the social media platform’s users began to speculate as to what happened. They also wanted to know what caused the impact. “What’s happening to all this high tech system,” one Twitter user asked. “Human or system error? Both?”

“Right, you would think by now the ship wouldn’t even let you do it,” Another user responded by stating. A user responded to that by adding, “Who are we to tell a ship what to do. Maybe it wanted to hit that mountain.”

Squadron Overseeing Submarines During Overhauls Will Not be Based in Connecticut 

Courant reported on Monday that the U.S. Navy is now reconstituting a squadron to oversee submarines while they are being repaired and overhauled at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. It was revealed that Captain Daniel J. Reiss would move from Norfolk, Virginia, in order to oversee the new squadron at the shipyard in Kittery, Maine. 

The media outlet revealed that Squadron 2 would provide administrative, manning, logistical, operating planning, and readiness support for attack submarines and crews while in Portsmouth. Reiss shared more details about the squadron by stating, “There is benefit to having a dedicated squadron staff on-site. [The Squadron is] focused on the unique needs of crews in this stage of their readiness cycle.”

The new Squadron 2 will consist of 25 personnel when fully staffed. Reiss shared that he is eager to address challenges by submarine crews locally. Rather than from 150 miles away in Connecticut. “We look forward to getting these crews and their boats back in the fight. Stronger and tougher than when they arrived.”

There are five Virginia- and Los Angeles-based nuclear-powered attack submarines at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.