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   Undertoad  Monday Feb 28 03:40 PM

2/28/2005: The injured USS San Francisco



It's xoB again. Last month the USS San Francisco, nuclear sub, ran aground when it hit an underwater mountain. There's the result. 1 sailor was killed in the incident, and 60 injured. This story says the commander was fired although there were no underwater mountains on the charts he was given.



You won't see this very often. And if you happen to meet any of the sailors that were aboard, they won't tell you the story. Submariners have a tradition of secrecy sometimes referred to as "silent service" - silent like the ships they run, they will not tell you a single tale about their time at sea.



glatt  Monday Feb 28 03:45 PM

I'm a little amazed that the U.S. Navy is the source of these photos. All they did for secrecy was cover secret electronics in the nose with the tarp before the pictures were taken. It's obviously a good thing the inner hull wasn't breached. This picture shows how much room there actually is between the outer hull and the inner hull.



BigV  Monday Feb 28 03:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
although there were no underwater mountains on the charts
but then those aren't the ones you have to drive around, then, are they? Only the ones on the seafloor matter...


BigV  Monday Feb 28 04:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt
I'm a little amazed that the U.S. Navy is the source of these photos. All they did for secrecy was cover secret electronics in the nose with the tarp before the pictures were taken. It's obviously a good thing the inner hull wasn't breached. This picture shows how much room there actually is between the outer hull and the inner hull.
I reckon the inner hull *was* breached. No way the distance between the two hulls is 80% of the radius of the ship. The green areas in the pics seem to be the interior -- people holding volume of the vessel.


Troubleshooter  Monday Feb 28 04:16 PM

I don't see the sonar sphere. If the sphere isn't visible then enough of the hull wasn't compressed to reach the people tank. I'll try to find a graphic.

Edit: A really hi-res of the second pic is here .



Troubleshooter  Monday Feb 28 04:59 PM

Ok, it looks like the (crushed) pinkish cluster in the middle may be the sphere, but there is a watertight hatch between the sphere and the people tank.



Wombat  Monday Feb 28 06:07 PM

Yes I'd agree that the pink bit was the sonar dome. In the hi-res pic, the green stuff looks like blocks attached to the surface behind them... maybe they're some kind of sound-deadening blocks. On Troubleshooter's diagram the big grey disk behind the sphere is probably the green block stuff in the photos.

If all that is correct then the people part is behind the launch tubes, which are behind the green blocks, and is therefore a long way back from the damaged area. Probably no water entered the people part.



BigV  Monday Feb 28 06:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter
I don't see the sonar sphere. If the sphere isn't visible then enough of the hull wasn't compressed to reach the people tank. I'll try to find a graphic.

Edit: A really hi-res of the second pic is here .
Thanks for the effort to find that picture. Really impressive. Further research came to an abrupt halt when I found this.


Troubleshooter  Monday Feb 28 06:35 PM

Strange, I use Firefox 1.1. Of course it could be a problem because of where you're browsing from.



Torrere  Monday Feb 28 06:43 PM

Seattle? The Democrats aren't THAT far out of favor!



BigV  Monday Feb 28 07:32 PM

Excuse me, but you mean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter
Strange, I use Firefox 1.1. Of course it could be a problem because of where you're browsing from.
1.0.1, right?


Troubleshooter  Monday Feb 28 07:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV
1.0.1, right?
Yes, thank you.


BigV  Monday Feb 28 07:46 PM

Whew.

I'm relieved to learn that the wave of version envy was just a false alarm...

might still be the where...



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Feb 28 10:40 PM

When that kind of tonnage meets an immovable object at -cough- 35 knots -cough-, there must be a lot of newly deaf fish in that area.



GruntDoc  Tuesday Mar 1 02:07 AM

Ooh, boy

Wait until somebody does the math and tags this collision as the cause of the Tsunami.

Reading the original news reports, it looks like everyone aboard was injured to some extent or another. Good job saving it, and it's the rule of Navy command: you're responsible, even if it was unforseeable. That CO will get to retire, but he's probably done as for major command.



Troubleshooter  Tuesday Mar 1 10:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
When that kind of tonnage meets an immovable object at -cough- 35 knots -cough-, there must be a lot of newly deaf fish in that area.
Just under 7000 tons.

I've seen conflicting stories on the speed though. Especially considering a speed that high falls into the clearance level information.


xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Mar 1 12:03 PM

One article I read said "flank speed" in one sentence and "around 35 knots" in another. I don't know if the author was knowledgeable but it seems it was full tilt boogie right up to impact.



Troubleshooter  Tuesday Mar 1 12:06 PM

Going from full tilt boogie to 0 in about 2 seconds is bad, yeah, definitely very bad, yeah, definitely...

The strength of the special alloy they use to build those things should be evident from the pics.



glatt  Tuesday Mar 1 12:32 PM

Imagine as you are sitting here in front of your computer, having the wall of the room suddenly and without warning fly at you at 45+ kilometers per hour. That's what it was like. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

The one guy that died was thrown against a pipe.



hampor  Tuesday Mar 1 12:49 PM

Maybe it's just my eyes, but is there a crease in the hull about a tenth of the way back?

I don't see that blip in the drawing.



Troubleshooter  Tuesday Mar 1 01:04 PM

The San Francisco isn't an improved 688, it doesn't have the VLS installed, so there are few differences in th eimages.



Wormfood  Tuesday Mar 1 01:07 PM

This proves that you can't listen where the mountains are with passive sonar



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Mar 1 02:11 PM

I wonder if the "mountain" they hit was hard rock, volcanic rock or sand/rock mix like on mountains on land?



Troubleshooter  Tuesday Mar 1 03:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wormfood
This proves that you can't listen where the mountains are with passive sonar
Sure you can. You just have to listen real careful like. The move slow.


tw  Tuesday Mar 1 08:42 PM

The sub did not hit bottom head on. It was a glancing blow that struck the left side of the box and scrapped down the port side. Was the sub at 30 knots or 40 knots? Does not matter. It was running a high speed. Subs running at those speeds are essentially blind if they intend to operate in their primary function - stealth. And yes, there is also clear buckling in that outer hull. This boat will be out of service for quite some time.

Existance of that underwater moutain was known. But due to the cost, charts have not been updated with recently discovered underwater topology. I believe this data was obtained from satellites.



Troubleshooter  Tuesday Mar 1 09:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
Existance of that underwater moutain was known. But due to the cost, charts have not been updated with recently discovered underwater topology. I believe this data was obtained from satellites.
Cite please.

And trust me on this one. They aren't goint to risk a billion dollar vessel over a bill to NOAA.

STS3(SS) Troubleshooter


tw  Tuesday Mar 1 09:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter
Cite please.

And trust me on this one. They aren't goint to risk a billion dollar vessel over a bill to NOAA.
Why should they spend the money to update charts when the need to do so has not been previously demonstrated? I cannot remember if the original source of that was the BBC World Service or the NY Times. But the fact was reported within two days of the collision - weeks ago. Evidence of the underwater mountain existance was (if I remember) from magnetic observations from satellites (not necessarily NOAA satellites. And they did not report details of a previously unknown technology). Navy charts for that region about 300 miles off Guam stated possible obstructions may exist in that region - but showed no specific example. Picture of that chart was from a TV new report. Depth numbers on that chart were quite few.

Trust nothing. Even in WWII, the army moved through Europe without sufficient maps. Patton was using Michelin road maps. Why would you expect humans today to be any more responsible? Ever try to get things fixed when a failure has never happened? Every engineer said not to launch Challenger - and seven people died predictably. When decisions are being made only using money as the principle, then it would be impossible to justify the expense - especially if not demonstrated necessary by previous example. (In the FAA, its called a graveyard mentality.) Today, it would be real easy to get those maps updated now that the cost can be measured accurately on the spread sheets.


lookout123  Tuesday Mar 1 11:55 PM

and oh yeah - bush and rove remotely steered them in to the mountain. it took 7 minutes. damn mental midget.



CharlieG  Wednesday Mar 2 09:42 AM

Out of service for a while? Probably forever. Considering they have been taking 688 boats out of service, they'll either bring another one back, or NOT retire one that would have been retired, and the San Fran will be made into razor blades



Troubleshooter  Wednesday Mar 2 09:44 AM

How's that old line go?

She's going from guarding peace to guarding closeness...



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 2 07:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
Existance of that underwater moutain was known. But due to the cost, charts have not been updated with recently discovered underwater topology. I believe this data was obtained from satellites.
I had also read the Navy was aware that there were a number of uncharted obstacles in that region. They were, however, unconcerned because of the sophisticated electronics all US Warships carry should warn them of potential hazards.
I guess they forgot about full tilt boogie training runs.


hampor  Thursday Mar 3 01:15 PM

Would that explain sacking the Captain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
I had also read the Navy was aware that there were a number of uncharted obstacles in that region. They were, however, unconcerned because of the sophisticated electronics all US Warships carry should warn them of potential hazards.
I guess they forgot about full tilt boogie training runs.
This is just a guess, but maybe the captain was demoted for running without the sonar turned on. Hard to say.


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Mar 3 09:22 PM

My understanding is it doesn't work when they run at speed because the boat makes so much noise.



Troubleshooter  Thursday Mar 3 11:13 PM

It's sort of like the faster you go, closer something has to be before it becomes noticable. Think of it like trying to hear something in the car with your head out of the window.



jimbo  Saturday Mar 26 06:58 PM

about SSN711

This is an older submarine, and did not have bow planes or vertical launch tubes. The situation could have been much different if she did.

No water entered the people tank. Flooding is bad, and she might not have survived that. The sonar sphere seen in the diagram can be accessed from inside the submarine, but that hatch is of course pressure proof and is kept dogged at all time except when necessary to enter for maintenance of the computer equipment there. Entry is only made while going slow, shallow depth.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Mar 26 08:27 PM

Hi Jimbo, welcome to the cellar.
You're saying the diagram in post #6 is not this sub, but a later design?



Elspode  Sunday Mar 27 01:51 PM

I just saw a tiny piece in the KC Star Friday that said several members of a sub crew were punished for running into an underwater obstacle. Presumably, they were members of the San Francisco crew?



BrianR  Monday Mar 28 11:41 AM

yes. I might have a link or story on this in the archives...I'll get back to you on it



Undertoad  Thursday Mar 31 06:50 PM

Wow! Strategy Page has a new set of photos with higher-res shots including the area under the tarp.




hampor  Monday May 9 12:25 PM

new report out

According to Yahoo, they've issued the report on the collision.

Although the mountain was not there on the particular charts that they were using, there was an indication of a navigation hazard in the area on other set of charts that they were supposed to look at as well.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday May 9 09:00 PM

Those "other charts" must be the satellite data I read about. They've been getting much better at looking beneath the surface with satellites.



Elspode  Tuesday May 10 01:47 PM

I can hear the Captain of the vessel now...

"$150,000,000.00 to fix a dented front fender! That's outrageous! Do you know what this will do to my insurance rates?!"



tw  Tuesday May 10 10:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspode
I can hear the Captain of the vessel now...

"$150,000,000.00 to fix a dented front fender! That's outrageous! Do you know what this will do to my insurance rates?!"
His insurance rates are probably the least of his problems. This clearly is a carrer buster. He need start looking for a new carrer - as I understand how the system works.


tw  Wednesday May 18 01:32 PM

Apparently damage to the USS San Francisco was more dangerous than was originally reported. Forward ballast tank was compromised. The boat remained stuck on the bottom, stern up, for some minutes before it finally and slowly floated to the surface. From the NY Times of 18 May 2005:
Adrift 500 Feet Under the Sea, a Minute Was an Eternity

Attached to the article is an interactive graphic entitled "Fighting to Save a Fallen Sailor". Notice the location of all forward ballast tanks.

Also confirmed by the article are that maps did not show the obstruction. Submarines move blind. They are dependant on maps that really only report 10% of the ocean.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday May 18 05:30 PM

Good find I can't imagine what it was like down there, waiting and waiting, for the ship to rise. And when it did still not knowing if they would make it.



tw  Wednesday May 18 06:18 PM

Article notes that the Captain threw his command star into the grave of the sailor. A poetic expression that does say much about how the Navy works.



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