By Kevin Zhang
An American nuclear-powered attack submarine reportedly struck an underwater object submerged in international waters of the Indo-Pacific region last week, according to the U.S. Navy, which also added that no life-threatening injuries were reported.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet stated late Thursday, adding that the damage to the submarine from the incident, which occurred on October 2nd, is still being assessed.
In a U.S. Naval Institute report with an anonymous defense official, 11 sailors were stated to have suffered minor to moderate injuries due to the collision. The last incident of an underwater collision involving a U.S. submarine occurred in 2005, when the USS San Francisco hit an underwater mountain, resulting in the death of one sailor.
The U.S. Navy has suffered numerous naval accidents in recent years, including an incident in 2017 in which two guided-missile destroyers collided. Following that incident, the Seventh Fleet’s commander was dismissed and extensive investigations were launched into naval training, policies and equipment.
The USS Connecticut belongs to the Seawolf-class of submarines, and is one of three in its family. The U.S. Navy has described Seawolf-class submarines as extremely fast, quiet, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors.
The Seawolf class was developed during the Cold War, designed to hunt down Soviet submarines via their acoustics.
The incident occurred near the time of large training exercises with the U.S. and its allies in the East Philippine Sea involving three aircraft carriers.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that the U.S. should release details regarding the collision, claiming that American assertiveness in the region was the source of the accident.