The USS Connecticut, a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, “struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region,” the Navy said in a statement.
While submariners have been killed in underwater collisions, none of the sailors aboard the USS Connecticut received life-threatening injuries, the Navy said.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition,” U.S. Navy’s release states. “USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”
The US Navy has not yet confirmed the submarine’s location at the time of the collision, other than to state it was somewhere in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, the Navy also did not disclose what it collided with or the number of sailors who were injured.
According to Reuters, US sources told the news agency that the incident occurred in the South China Sea and that “fewer than 15 people” sustained minor injuries such as bruises and cuts.
During the Navy’s release, Connecticut was already on its way to the United States’ 7th Fleet area of military administration, which covers the Western Pacific Ocean, a major chunk of the Indian Ocean, and other smaller bodies of water. “The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region,” read the Navy’s release. “The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries.”
According to the Navy, Connecticut has sailed its Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton homeport in Washington State for Pacific deployment. The seawolf-class ship visited Japan at least twice, once in July and again the next month.
Submarine collisions are not uncommon. The Soryu, a Japanese submarine, collided with a cargo ship in February 2021. The HMS Ambush, a nuclear attack submarine of the Royal Navy’s Astute-class, collided with a commercial tanker on the Gibraltar coast in 2016. In 2005, the USS San Francisco crashed with an undersea seamount, severely damaging its bow. These are just the incidents in which no one was killed.
However, in the case of the USS Connecticut, the Navy stated that the extent of the damage is being assessed, and the incident is being probed.
US Navy further said the vessel was now headed to the U.S base at Guam.