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US Nuclear Sub Crashes Into US Navy Amphibious Vessel

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the all-in-the-same-gang dept.

The Military 266

Kugrian writes "Showing that it's not just the British and the French who have trouble seeing each other on the high seas, a US Nuclear submarine yesterday crashed into a US Navy heavy cruiser. The USS Hartford, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, was submerged as it crashed into the USS New Orleans in the strait of Hormuz, resulting in the spillage of 95,000 litres of diesel fuel. Both vessels were heading in the same direction when the collision occurred in the narrow strait and were subsequently heading to port for repairs. A spokesman for the 5th Fleet said that the USS Hartford suffered no damage to its nuclear propulsion system." According to the USS New Orleans' Wikipedia page, it's actually an amphibious transport dock.

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Oh sure... (1, Funny)

iocat (572367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283029)

This is the cover story, but what *really* happened?

Re:Oh sure... (5, Funny)

Joolz50 (1381499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283059)

The navigator was constantly refreshing /. trying to get first post

Re:Oh sure... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283145)

It was homer Simpson first day on a SUB.

Re:Oh sure... (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283351)

bender hat an alcohollevel well below which is required for robots ...

Re:Oh sure... (4, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283321)

It sounds serious, I mean 95,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean.

Oh wait, it was litres? Oh well that's like monopoly oil, we'll be alright.

Re:Oh sure... (5, Funny)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283473)

The captains were trying to re-enact the Battlestar finale.

Re:Oh sure... (3, Funny)

shogun (657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283741)

I'm guessing the above should probably be modded -1 (Spoiler).

Re:Oh sure... (0, Offtopic)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283921)

Spoiler

Not to mention Gynes Balltard becomes a crying bitch ass farmer.

Really Sci-Fi? A six year odyssey that ends like that?!?!
Damn, I can taste bile just thinking about it.

Re:Oh sure... (2, Informative)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284203)

You know he grew up on a farm right?

Re:Oh sure... (5, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283545)

This is the cover story, but what *really* happened?

They were re-charging their di-lithium crystals from the nuclear wessel so they could save the whales.

Re:Oh sure... (1)

cxreg (44671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283595)

This is the cover story, but what *really* happened?

2 words:

Arsenal Gear

Re:Oh sure... (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283611)

She was blow drying her hair and got distracted.. Ocaams Razor..

Why so negative. (5, Funny)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283065)

You guys are so negative.

The headline should be "US Navy perfects underwater stealth technology."

Re:Why so negative. (5, Informative)

Fenresulven (516459) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283093)

The USS New Orleans isn't equipped with a sonar suite, perfecting underwater stealth technology sufficiently to hide from her isn't much of an accomplishment.

Re:Why so negative. (1, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283255)

I think it's submarine navigator's duty to avoid surface ships. Hardly any surface ship can detect a submarine at periscope depth, let alone if it is deeper. Sailors at USS Hartford must have been completely deaf to not hear the noise of a huge ship.

Re:Why so negative. (2, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283313)

You obviously haven't served in the submarine force, have demonstrated zero actual knowledge of how submarines operate, and probably don't understand any about sea state conditions and the physics behind the extreme difficulty of detecting obstacles when your vessel is operating in a certain layer of the ocean.

Deaf? Not to be too harsh, but please come back when you know what you're talking about.

Re:Why so negative. (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283415)

Deaf? Not to be too harsh, but please come back when you know what you're talking about.

Since you obviously know the subject, maybe you can comment on three items of my post:

  1. Who has the primary duty to avoid such a collision?
  2. Is it reasonable to expect a surface ship to see a submarine 30' below the surface at night?
  3. Would it be expected that many sailors aboard the sub will hear 100,000 HP diesels of a surface ship a couple of hundred feet away?

In my opinion these answers, made by a competent person, would be far more useful than guessing about me and at the same time telling nothing on the subject of discussion.

Re:Why so negative. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283601)

Also, in the straits of Hormuz the water is sufficiently shallow that you don't get any thermal masking. While the 100,000 HP diesels aren't standard ICE motors (they are turbines), and surface ships do have significant noise masking technologies, the sub should have been able to hear them. Further, the transits are supposed to be coordinated and executed via preplanned-intended-movement (PIM) track. One of the skippers is going to get fired of this.

Re:Why so negative. (4, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283627)

I'll be happy to help with your answers, to the extent that I'm permitted. I hope you understand that there are things Sailors can't talk about, and my statements in no way reflect the official position of the U.S. Navy on any matter related to fleet operations. I'm not even in the Navy anymore, but I just got out at the beginning of March, so I'm still pretty close to a lot of folks who are serving.

Now that we're done with the disclaimer, here's what I can say about your questions:
  1. Ultimately, the CO is responsible for anything the vessel does. This is a big job, and involves years of training and study. Typically, submarine COs are Commanders or Captains. Down the line, the Navigator is indeed accountable for the vessel's movement. However, the Navigator depends on accurate input from multiple departments in making real-time decisions. Small mistakes in any area can result in large problems. This stuff is hard work, and inherently dangerous.
  2. Yes and no. Depends on what ships we're talking about, but the answer is mostly no in the vast majority of cases. Submarines are built for stealth, an attribute they excel at most of the time (people get in trouble when that's not the case). This puts big limitations on what subs can do to keep tabs on their environment, however.
  3. There's a big difference in knowing that something's out there, and knowing precisely where that vessel is. It's an imperfect science that depends heavily on rapid analysis of a whole lot of variables at once, and operating conditions and mission requirements sometimes make it necessary to operate in close proximity to other vessels. It's just part of the job, and 99.9% of the time there are no problems. Factors like sea state, water temperatures, and other considerations can make the job of monitoring proximity more difficult. Seafaring civilians understand a lot these issues, too.

I hope these answers help give you an appreciation of the complexity of these operations. My initial reply was intended to get you to stop and think; sorry if I came across too hot. Thanks for your interest.

Re:Why so negative. (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283735)

I hope you understand that there are things Sailors can't talk about

What goes on in the fan rooms, for example ;)

Re:Why so negative. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283825)

You should see what goes down in the radio room. Ba-dum-ding. Submarine jokes: there's a million of 'em :).

Re:Why so negative. (1)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284119)

You should see what goes down in the radio room. Ba-dum-ding. Submarine jokes: there's a million of 'em :).

You should see who goes down in the radio room. Ba-dum-ding. Submarine jokes: there's a million of 'em :). --

There, fixed that for ya... ;)

Shipwack, another ex-bubblehead who really wishes he could read the accident/incident report on this one...

Re:Why so negative. (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283629)

Since you obviously know the subject, maybe you can comment on three items of my post:

1. Who has the primary duty to avoid such a collision?

Both parties, actually. But the Sub will be held to a higher standard. Because the surface ship is expected to not see the boat.

2. Is it reasonable to expect a surface ship to see a submarine 30' below the surface at night?

30' below the surface isn't nearly far enough down to make the sub invisible, even at night. But, in general, we don't expect surface ships to see our subs unless they're snorkeling.

3. Would it be expected that many sailors aboard the sub will hear 100,000 HP diesels of a surface ship a couple of hundred feet away?

Two things:

New Orleans only has 40,000 HP engines.

The anechoic coating on a submarine makes it pretty hard to hear anything going on inside from the outside, and pretty hard to hear anything going on outside from the inside.

On the other hand, we usually expect the sonar guys to hear this sort of thing.

On the gripping hand, you won't be trailing your tail in the Straits of Hormuz, and aren't likely to hear something overhauling you until it gets really close. By which time dodging is impossible in restricted waters.

In my opinion these answers, made by a competent person, would be far more useful than guessing about me and at the same time telling nothing on the subject of discussion.

Probably. The real question in the business is who was overhauling, and who was being overhauled. There's no excuse for a sub bumping a diesel-powered LPD from behind. There's a lot more excuse for the boat being run over by the LPD in tight waters, which these were.

I should note that the last couple paragraphs of TFA were completely unnecessary, and serve no other purpose other than to contribute to anti-nuclear hysteria - the presence or absence of nuclear weapons had no effect on the collision between the French and Brit boats, and there was ZERO chance, even if both boats had been sunk by the collision (basically impossible unless both boats were running at flank speed, and damn unlikely even then), of any of the nuclear weapons on board being a "catastrophe narrowly averted".

Re:Why so negative. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283761)

From the hi-res pics published by the Navy, its seems the New Orleans struck the sail of the Hartford at an extreme angle (60-90 degrees) from the port side. The sail has been kinked by at least 10 degrees. Reports from the sub indicate an 82 degree roll was taken at the time of impact.

Re:Why so negative. (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283939)

Do you have a link to those photos?

The only ones I found were here [blogspot.com] In that photo I don't see anything conclusive proving that the sail is bent.

Most people do not realize that the sail is built a few degrees off of vertical.

Re:Why so negative. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284011)

This is about what I'd have expected - the New Orleans hit the Hartford.

The angle of impact suggests that the Hartford began a turn to avoid the collision at the last minute.

Re:Why so negative. (1)

nitro77 (1454233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283727)


Deaf? Not to be too harsh, but please come back when you know what you're talking about.

Since you obviously know the subject, maybe you can comment on three items of my post:

Been there done that. Palegray.net is correct.

1. Who has the primary duty to avoid such a collision?

The Officer of the Deck ( OOD ) He is in charge of the current operation of the ship. That being said. The captain has ultimate responsibility.

2. Is it reasonable to expect a surface ship to see a submarine 30' below the surface at night?

Yes it is. A submarine is over 50' tall. So a submarine at 30' keel depth would be on the surface. If you consider that the top of the ship is 30' below the surface, No.

3. Would it be expected that many sailors aboard the sub will hear 100,000 HP diesels of a surface ship a couple of hundred feet away?

The temperature of the water varies with depth. It effects the way sound propagates through the water. It is very possible for a submarine to be directly below a surface ship and not hear it.

In my opinion these answers, made by a competent person, would be far more useful than guessing about me and at the same time telling nothing on the subject of discussion.

One of the most dangerous times for a submarine collision is during the process of going to periscope depth. The submarine may not hear a surface ship until it is to late. Chances are this is what happened. It has happened before. A US ballistic submarine sunk a Japanese freighter in the pacific some years ago.

The quote in the article about more than 100 nuclear weapons were involved is pure bullshit. A fast attack submarine is limited to a few cruise missiles. Given the area of operation, most if not all would be armed with conventional warheads. There is no reason for a marine assault ship to carry nuclear weapons.

Re:Why so negative. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283751)

The quote in the article about more than 100 nuclear weapons were involved is pure bullshit. A fast attack submarine is limited to a few cruise missiles. Given the area of operation, most if not all would be armed with conventional warheads. There is no reason for a marine assault ship to carry nuclear weapons.

That refers to the previous French-British collision.

Re:Why so negative. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283577)

Hey, I've served in the submarine force and I damn well know that the CO, the Nav, and the OOD on the submarine are at fault (and they will be fired along with the XO). The Strait of Hormuz is fairly shallow (rarely exceeds 300 ft) and it doesn't surprise me that a submarine would traverse it at night at or near periscope depth to avoid detection. A submarine operating in this area would have to be very careful because you can't simply order an emergency dive to avoid other ships. For this reason I would expect the submarine to be operating at periscope depth so that it could visually track and try to avoid the deep draft ships that commonly pass through this area. If the OOD didn't see the the LPD, then he screwed up and wasn't cautious or attentive enough. If the OOD did see the LPD and was sucked into it (since they were both apparently travelling in the same direction) then he was an idiot and didn't learn the lessons of many ships being pulled into another by Bernoulli's principle.

Re:Why so negative. (1)

KORfan (524397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283179)

I think we perfected it a while back.

Re:Why so negative. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283301)

I think we perfected it a while back.

Yes, I remember the memo. The experimental stealth technology was installed on a submarine and powered up. But when the crew came to take the ship to the sea for testing they couldn't find it, even though they searched for three days and three nights... they had to be given a new sub to continue their service ;-)

Re:Why so negative. (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283843)

I think I remember that, didn't it just get a new camo paint job?

Re:Why so negative. (0)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283407)

Um.... We can't have perfected it. We rely on nuclear-powered submarines which are fundamentally un-stealthy because of the noise of the hot water running through the pipes. Diesel-electric submarines have a real shot at the stealth designation (and in fact, the Chinese have demonstrated that we can't detect their subs when they are running on electric).

However, the New Orleans looks to me to be designed to be stealthy from a radar perspective, so I wonder if it has some other stealth measures as well. I wonder if this is a case of building all our ships as stealthy as possible and then wondering why they don't see eachother.

Re:Why so negative. (3, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283449)

We rely on nuclear-powered submarines which are fundamentally un-stealthy because of the noise of the hot water running through the pipes

Just quit while you're behind

Re:Why so negative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283901)

Here here! Why would Reactor Coolant Pumps run at a frequency other then 60hz if hot water was noisy? As to ohter peoples suggestions that diesel boats are quieter try doing a wargame with them and having them call time out to recharge. They still couldnt find us. (688 class ssn)

Re:Why so negative. (1)

nitro77 (1454233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284049)

Or just join the silent service. Than you will know.

Re:Why so negative. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283665)

Um.... We can't have perfected it. We rely on nuclear-powered submarines which are fundamentally un-stealthy because of the noise of the hot water running through the pipes.

While it is true that a nuke boat is inherently noisier than a diesel boat, it should be pointed out that an Ohio class boat (and later LA class boats, for that matter) are quieter than background - you detect them by looking for places you don't hear normal aquatic noises like fish and such.

Note, of course, that this applies at low speeds. At higher speeds, they're noisier than background. But not all that much noisier unless you're running fast near the surface.

Before everyone joins the frenzy... (5, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283089)

I'm an ex-submariner who served with some of the guys on the Hartford (not my boat, but I went to school with them). This kind of thing is extremely unfortunate, and it really sucks for the whole community when accidents like this happen. I was relieved to find out that nobody was killed, and my thoughts are with the crew as they deal with this mess.

Yes, this is the result of human failure. That's not up for debate, and I'm not trying to excuse the mistakes that led up to this event. I'm trying to reinforce the idea that this kind of work is inherently dangerous, and that the men who serve on these vessels accept a lot of risk to do their jobs. Please consider this before launching an overly heated reply. Thank you.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283131)

I have a friend on the last nuclear powered sub to hit another ship, and yes, it's a major bummer for everyone involved.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283771)

On the other hand, I find your comment, plus your sig, quite comical, that wasn't one of his quotes was it?

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283165)

This isn't the first accident for Hartford. She ran aground off Sardinia in 2003. "The US Navy investigation into the incident revealed a pattern of navigation, procedural and equipment errors leading up to the accident."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Hartford_grounding

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283333)

Yep. Mistakes were made then, too, serious ones. This is the kind of that gets people killed, no doubt about it. Again, my intent is not to minimize the seriousness of the matter. I'm trying to get people to have a little sympathy for the crew as a whole, along with their families. Incidents like this have far-reaching consequences, and it's going to suck really hard for a lot of people who had nothing to do with the mistakes that led up to the accident.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284095)

Care to explain to a land rat, how this is even possible?

As far as I know, they always know exactly what their distance to the surroundings are, don't they? So did they ignore the displays? Are there proximity warnings that go off? Were they ignored?

Did they not know, that a large ship was above them? Really?
Or did they know, but not watch the distance?

I don't get it... Sorry...
In my mind, I always have this picture of a really drunk crew, with an even more drunk captain. And as far as I know, military people (at least in Germany and Poland) drink in every free minute. ^^

I'd love to be shown how wrong I am. :)

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27284353)

I'm not a expert on the modern navy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know from a variety of naval simulations that it's very very hard to keep tabs on your surroundings with only passive sensors.

Too, I doubt the Hartford was going all that slowly, and the passive sonar arrays on most submarines these days don't work too well at middling to high speeds (someone correct me if I'm wrong, since there seem to be a huge number of submariners around today :P).

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283457)

I was onboard for that one.

The Navy needs more men and ships. (5, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283381)

I think it is safe to say that right now the Navy needs both more men and ships. The problem is that the Navy is trying to do way too much with too few ships. Not only is the Navy tasked with enforcing Pax Americana, it must also provide air support to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, be prepared to stave off North Korean ballistic missiles, monitor the Chinese, stop the pirates and by the way win the war on drugs. These sailors are going out to sea for six months to a year at a time. Those who wonder if astronauts could hang in a mission to Mars should simply hire sailors - they are out in a ship for nearly as long.

The other biggest problem with the Navy is the foolish insistence on having private shipyards build warships. The idea of having private shipyards is certainly sound - but ultimately, Naval warships are rather nothing like their civilian counterparts and so its not really right to say that privatization makes any sense. The Navy really does need to operate its own yards, take on its own construction, and just clear out some of the cost overruns and red tape as contractors want projects to overrun, but the Navy wants its ships sooner rather than later.

But in the meantime I would say that Navy needs to build really rather a lot more frigate / destroyer type of ships and have them operate in ports. Having something like a battleship would be good largely just to show the flag... but I would build something new and leave the Iowas in the museums where they belong.

Re:The Navy needs more men and ships. (5, Insightful)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284321)

As retired submariner, I can certainly get behind the idea of having more subs... The number missions they are tasked with every year never goes down (and usually goes up), but there are fewer and fewer submarines every year to do them (old subs are being decommissioned faster than new ones are being built).

I've also heard surface types saying we need more carrier battle groups, an I understand their reasoning. And the logistics corp can also talk about we don't have enough supply vessels to adequately take care of our ships -now-. But... Where does it all stop? We only have so much money... I think one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century said it best:

''Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children . . . This is not a way of life at all in any sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.''--Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953, before the American Society of Newspaper Editors

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283417)

Accidents happen all the time in all branches of the military.

As a nautical layman I'm wondering how the accident would happen. Could you give us your perspective? It would seem that there was an organizational failure of coordination between the leadership of the two vessels, or do they keep sub routes a secret from some or all surface ships?

I know that LPD's are big, lumbering cargo and personnel transport ships and they have navigational SONAR, so I'm interested in the sub in particular -- What do you think led to the accident? Did the crew have enough sensors on to see? Do the books not mandate the SONAR methods which would have helped the sub detect the LPD? Was the sub required to maintain stealth given the Strait of Hormuz' vicinity to Iran?

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283653)

In the interest of avoiding comment duplication, you have a look at my response to another poster [slashdot.org] for some information. Thanks for a well-reasoned set of questions!

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (2, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283693)

or do they keep sub routes a secret from some or all surface ships?

The only thing a surface ship would be told is that there is a submarine operating (or not) in a given area of the ocean - not exactly where in that area.

And the areas in question aren't small.

New Orleans prolly knew that there were boats in the region of the Persian Gulf, but no more than that.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283897)

I know that LPD's are big, lumbering cargo and personnel transport ships and they have navigational SONAR, so I'm interested in the sub in particular -- What do you think led to the accident? Did the crew have enough sensors on to see? Do the books not mandate the SONAR methods which would have helped the sub detect the LPD? Was the sub required to maintain stealth given the Strait of Hormuz' vicinity to Iran?

An LPD isn't all that big, really. It's also not "lumbering". It's what they call a "gator freighter" - it moves Marines around.

The sub had sensors that could see in front of them, if they were submerged. The Straits are too shallow for the tail.

What the books mandate is not really a subject to be bandied about in pubs. Suffice it to say that being run into (or running into someone) is very bad form, and to be avoided when possible.

Subs ALWAYS maintain stealth, unless they're surfaced. The only time a submerged submarine won't be "maintaining stealth" is if it is firing missiles/torpedoes, or running like hell from someone else's torpedoes fired at them.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (2, Informative)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283903)

I was on a small ship, a DDG (Guided Missle Destroyer) for 3 years and I can provide some information. I am by no means on expert as my rating (job designation) had little to do with piloting the ship. The US has 2 main types of subs, boomers and attack subs. Nobody knows where a boomer goes after it leaves port and dives, not even the captain of the sub until after he has read his classified mission instructions. Once they are gone, they are gone for 3 months. They can transit around the planet or kick it a few hundred miles off of their homeport. Attack submarines, like the one involved in this incident, have a different function. The Navy sends them to a region where we think there are foreign subs playing hide, and they try to find them. They also lurk where foreign unfriendly neighbors congregate, to remind foreign unfriendly neighbors that they are vulnerable. Their locations are not usually as classified. The Amphibious ship should have known that an attack sub was in the area. The sub also should have know of all the ships that may have been in the straits of Hormuz while it was there. A ship the size of the Amphib is going to steer like a cow, so I think the sub should bear the greater burden on avoiding that collision. I dont know about amphibs, but I know DDGs have a way to hide the sounds of their engineering equipment and propellers, Sonar techs told me that a ship running with this on sounds indistinguishable from a storm at sea, unless the ship turns.

My ship never transited the straits of Hormuz, but I do know it is a scary transit. Exact procedures that US Navy ships have to follow are probably classified.

Accidents do happen, regularly. A ship running into another ship is a huge huge accident for the Navy however. I've got a hunch that a few years from now the navy will have conducted a study that says accidents in this time period were caused due to the undermanning of navy vessels, an initiative that started about 2 years ago (basicly the navy started downsizing the crews of ships just like corporations, naval-ese for this is "optimum manning"). Its one thing to have less workers at a company or a company branch, but it is devastating to have less people on a ship, because a ship has a complete turnover of "employees" every 5 years. A sailor spends from 2 to 5 years max on a ship before being rotated to sea duty or a different ship. If there are not enough crewmembers to conduct training and look over things, as well as to do all of the jobs required to keep a warship operating, standards suffer, accidents increase, and the officers and others who came up with the shortsighted plans in the first place retire happily before the long term effects show their ugly face.

My rantful 2 cents.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283967)

No way a 688 class submarine carrying "about 200 people" was undermanned.

Where would that many people sleep?

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284057)

I've never been on a sub, as a surface and sub communities do not mingle very much, so I can not say one way or the other if the navy "optimum manning" (crew downsizing) initiative has made its way to the sub community or not. Maybe a recent/current sub-sailor can comment. But it sure has fucked the surface community from what Ive seen. My ship didnt have enough undesignated seaman/boatswain's mates to do flight quarters and man the boat deck at the same time anymore. It was do one, or the other, or do both simultaneously with fewer people than it was decided a long time ago is in the acceptable realms of Navy safety (which is pretty damn safe, the Navy goes overboard (no pun intended) on safety, which is a good thing.) Or grab people from ratings that dont normally do this kind of stuff, who have already been downsized anyways.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284195)

What I noticed in my time (2000-2006) was that officers spend very little time on the ship before they transfer, in many cases less than 3 years. Nothing frustrated me more than watching JOs who had just finally pulled their head out of their ass and started to become useful get transferred to shore duty to come back a few years later as a department head. Enlisted tours about 4+ years for a reason; it takes time to learn how to do your job.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283427)

Actually, I heard that the amphibious vessel failed to turn left at Albuquerque.

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (2, Interesting)

jcorgan (30025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283713)

Indeed, it is likely that the rigorous crew training and constant drill practice responding to situations like these is responsible there being so *few* injuries, and that both ships can still steam under their own power back to port.

(Another ex-submariner)

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283811)

Well said! It's funny how when we were in the service the mere mention of more drills would elicit a universal moan of anguish, but the real value of these exercises shines through when casualties are quickly handled. You really hit the nail on the head: this could probably have been a lot worse. Thanks for your service!

Re:Before everyone joins the frenzy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27284121)

Yeah! Thanks for your service, sucka -- Wall Street

New submarine technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283091)

I think we should start putting lights, rubber, and foam walls on these ships so they stop hitting each other. It's not like their radar tells them anything like... when going to port do it in single file... this sounds like the same thing as speeding in a marina... there's a reason you don't pass ships in small areas.

Re:New submarine technology (0, Flamebait)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283419)

Tell you what, when you've served on the crew of a combat vessel designed to spend the majority of its time under water, come on back and join the conversation. Reference my other posts in this thread for a beginner's guide to why your opinion is skewed, ill-educated, and a waste of bits.

Sup dawg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283137)

Sup dawg. We heard you like ships, so we put a ship in your ship so you can sail when you sail.

Probably not the sub's fault (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283197)

The New Orleans hasn't been a shining example of anything. She was late and over-budget. She had a million deficiencies when they tried to commission her.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uss_new_orleans [wikipedia.org]

She reminds me of another cursed ship, the Great Eastern.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Great_Eastern [wikipedia.org]
The Great Eastern was a disaster from day one. To be fair, the New Orleans has a long way to go before she is that unlucky. Even so ...

Re:Probably not the sub's fault (2, Funny)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283263)

Erm, what? The USS New Orleans only had 2600 deficiencies when inspected: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_New_Orleans_(LPD-18) [wikipedia.org] . Learn to read your own links.

Re:Probably not the sub's fault (1, Informative)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283335)

Last I checked, in the English language, at least, when we say "a million", we usually don't mean a literal million. That's what "one million" is for. "A million" tends to just mean "a hell of a lot". To say a program has a million bugs probably doesn't mean there are literally one million bugs in it, it just means there are quite a few.

Re:Probably not the sub's fault (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283459)

Any "swag" should at least be in the same ballpark as what you are guestimating.

To put it in more "understandable" terms.

1000 is not a suitable estimate for 3 and is just troll-baiting.

Re:Probably not the sub's fault (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283961)

Any "swag" should at least be in the same ballpark as what you are guestimating.

Unless, of course, a particular figure is traditionally used in conversation to represent a "large but indeterminate amount".

"A million" , or "millions" is frequently used this way in modern American English. As in, "there are a million reasons not to do that", which doesn't really mean that there are a million reasons, or even in the time zone of a million. Just that there are a hell of a lot....

Note that back in the Old Testament days, "forty" was used the same way - "it rained forty days and forty nights" meant (to a listener/reader back then) "it rained for a hell of a long time", and "they wandered in the desert for forty years" meant "they wandered around for a hell of a long time".

Re:Probably not the sub's fault (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283749)

Last I checked, in the English language, at least, when we say "a million", we usually don't mean a literal million. That's what "one million" is for. "A million" tends to just mean "a hell of a lot".

That sound you are hearing is the noise of a million whooshes flying right over your head ;)

Re:Probably not the sub's fault (1)

nsaspook (20301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283499)

Erm, what? The USS New Orleans only had 2600 deficiencies when inspected: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_New_Orleans_(LPD-18) [wikipedia.org] . Learn to read your own links.

It sounds bad but these old girls are hard to put down. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reu_0uULP58 [youtube.com]

Oh comon... (2, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283237)

Am I the only one who smells something fishy? Million dollar machines crashing into eachother? For the second time in a month? Somethings up.

Re:Oh comon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283285)

Fishy?
Not really.

AIG are paying out bailout money to ALL their customers who've made a claim.

Re:Oh comon... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283395)

I surely hope your comment was meant in jest. These are billion dollar machines, by the way, manned by real live people who put their lives on the line every day to do a job most people know nothing about. Have a little respect for those who serve.

Re:Oh comon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283495)

i hope this is some kind of joke. conspiracy fags always annoy because they always post like they know something no one else knows but they rarely say what it is and when you finally do drag it out of them they have no proof at all.

royal fucking yawnfest. at best.

What did happened in the Strait of Hormuz? (2, Informative)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283239)

USS New Orleans (LPD-18), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is the fourth commissioned ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. She is designed to be able to deliver a fully-equipped battalion of 700 Marines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_New_Orleans_(LPD-18) [wikipedia.org] and not the old USS New Orleans USS New Orleans (CA-32) (formerly CL-32) was a United States Navy heavy cruiser http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_New_Orleans_(CA-32) [wikipedia.org] as suggested in the article. A fair account of what happened in the Strait of Hormuz can be found at http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2009/03/navy-ships-collide-in-strait-of-hormuz.html [blogspot.com]

Wowzers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283287)

The New Orleans looks pretty badass. Wiki says it carries a frickin' battalion of Marines. Must cost a fortune!

I wonder if Uncle Sam'd be willing to part with it at a discount, given the current economic climate :)

they weren't the only ones asleep at the switch (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283365)

usually Slashdot is pretty quick to get the news but his happened yesterday folks - I guess the admins didn't think it was newsworthy yesterday

Re:they weren't the only ones asleep at the switch (4, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283453)

"usually Slashdot is pretty quick to get the news but his happened yesterday folks"

That was true back when slashdot was in paper edition, but since they switched to this new-fangled website thingy, it just haven't been the same.

One day, my lawn will have a real grass instead of this painted-over green dirt.

Re:they weren't the only ones asleep at the switch (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283763)

haha - I'd mod that funny if I had mod points

Re:they weren't the only ones asleep at the switch (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283813)

Shit man, you have real dirt? I simply made my taskbar green, that way "get off my lawn" and "get out of my face" both happen at the same time.

Re:they weren't the only ones asleep at the switch (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283925)

I just put in cement and painted that green.
I don't have to mow, and there's no mud when it rains :)

mod doWn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283405)

BSD machines won't be shouting In our group Me if you'd like, use the sling. mire of decay, For the record, I Preferrably with an I'M DISCUSSING they're gone Mac (I always bring my is the ultimate Clothes or be a 7000 USERS OF I don't want to A losing battle; fate. Let's not be not going home can be like create, manufacture Usenet iS roughly That has lost the choosing the longest or my resignation simple solution dying. See? It's Effort To address the deal with you irc.easynews.com gawker At most These early an operating system who sell another in jocks or chaps Romeo and Juliet Lite is straining reasons why anyone

Passing in the Night (2, Funny)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283425)

This reminds me of an old story:

Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10.10.95

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again: divert your course.
Canadians: No. I say again: divert YOUR course.
Americans: THIS IS THE USS MISSOURI. WE ARE A LARGE WARSHIP OF THE US NAVY. DIVERT YOUR COURSE NOW!
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

Re:Passing in the Night (4, Informative)

d0mokun (1227718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283471)

I believe that's fake, or at least drawn out since the dawn of time. http://www.snopes.com/military/lighthouse.asp [snopes.com] Still amusing I guess.

Re:Passing in the Night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283481)

This reminds me of an old story:

Radio conversation released by the Chief
        of Naval Operations 10.10.95

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a
        collision.

        Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a
        collision.

        Americans: This is the captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again: divert your
        course.

        Canadians: No. I say again: divert YOUR course.

        Americans: THIS IS THE USS MISSOURI. WE ARE A LARGE WARSHIP OF THE US NAVY. DIVERT
        YOUR COURSE NOW!

        Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

Fake, urban legend. I've seen a thousand variations involving various carriers, etc.

Look it up on snopes.

Re:Passing in the Night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27284083)

Just so nobody starts thinking this is real again:

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/navy_legacy.asp?id=174 [navy.mil]

It's still funny though!

Re:Passing in the Night (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284115)

Of course it's fake, but it's still funny.

Ostriches ? (0)

alexhs (877055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283489)

These incidents show that submarines stealth technologies are inspired from ostrich strategy.

Bury your head in the sand and expect not beeing seen.

amphibious? (3, Interesting)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283497)

Am I the only one who was imagining a big ship with big-ass wheels that could roll up the beach and conquer all that stood before it?

Amphibious transport dock? (3, Informative)

managerialslime (739286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283547)

Wiki has not only a good explanation but a great cut-away illustration of "Amphibious transport docks."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphibious_transport_dock [wikipedia.org]

From the name, it sounded like the ship was actually "land and sea" capable. In fact, it ferries copters and truly amphibious vehicles close to shore. This is a ship only and does not appear to intentionally embrace the beach.

Re:Amphibious transport dock? (1)

PatTheGreat (956344) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283585)

Maybe it sounded like it was a dock for amphibious transports.

Insurance Settlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27283815)

man, I sure hope the US Navy doesn't insure their ships with A.I.G. ...

Just imagine. (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283905)

What if our sub slammed into an Iranian vessel?

Everyone's a Captain Crunch (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27283919)

From the song "Ninety Nine Crunch Berries"

Clearly this is a sign... (1)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284001)

While it is understandable how vessels from different nations may become uncoordinated and end up in occasional accidents, it seems quite impossible for this to just happen to such an impeccably organized organization like the U.S. Navy. This is clearly an awakening of the machines and a convergence towards The Singularity.

That's a tight spot for a sub (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284123)

It's surprising, almost amazing, that the US even tries to run subs through the Straits of Hormuz. Look at the shipping lane map. [wikipedia.org] That's one of the world's busiest shipping lanes (half the world's supertankers go through there), it's shallow, there are narrow spots and islands, there's a sharp turn at the narrowest spot. and there's no organized traffic control.

The real question is whether the US should be running subs through there at all. It might be worth it in wartime, but unless the sub had a job to do in the Persian Gulf, questions will be asked about the policy of doing this.

The sub driver will lose his command, of course.

This is the boat's second accident; the previous one was a grounding due to a navigational error. The ship's motto, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead", may need changing.

Re:That's a tight spot for a sub (2, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284243)

The real question is whether the US should be running subs through there at all. It might be worth it in wartime, but unless the sub had a job to do in the Persian Gulf, questions will be asked about the policy of doing this.

It's the only practical route for Atlantic fleet submarines to deploy to the Persian Gulf. No way they are going to stop using it.

Amphibious? That begs a question... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284207)

Was it parked in water or on land?

How much do these subs cost? (1)

rmcclelland (1383541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27284245)

If this was a NASA issue, they would give the cost of the hardware involved. Why don't they do this for military issues? Then the public would realize how expensive the military is. I bet those subs burn through $100K a day and cost $1B.
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