Submarines: Sucked Into a Collision

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January11, 2007: On January 8th, there was a minor collision between an American nuclear sub (the USS Newport News) and 1,100 foot long, 300,000 ton tanker (the Mogamigawa) in the Persian Gulf. There was some damage to the ship, in the form of a 108 foot long tear in the rear hull. The tear was four inches wide, and letting water in. The U.S. Navy has not said what damage there was to the bow of the sub, but a similar Los Angeles class boat survived plowing, head on, into an underwater sea mount at high speed two years ago. These subs are very sturdy. A preliminary investigation indicates that the tanker was passing safely over the 360 foot long Newport News, but was going at such "high speed" (probably about 35 kilometers an hour), that a sucking effect was created, that pulled the 6,300 ton sub up until its bow banged against the bottom of the passing tanker. The Newport News was moving south, through the Straits of Hormuz, as was the Japanese ship. The tanker carried a crew of 24, the sub has 127 sailors on board. U.S. nuclear subs operate in the Persian Gulf to keep an eye on the Iranian navy.

This is not the first time the Mogamigawa ran into problems at sea. In late 2002, while passing through the Malacca Straits, a speedboat full of pirates tried to board in the pre-dawn hours. The crew spotted the pirates, and used a searchlight to scare them off.

 


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