Assessment of Damaged Attack Boat USS Connecticut Begins in Guam

October 10, 2021 8:26 PM
Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) in 2009. US Navy Photo

The U.S. nuclear attack boat that hit an underwater object in the South China Sea on Oct. 2 is now in Guam undergoing an assessment and preliminary repairs in the midst of two investigations into the incident, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Sunday.

USS Connecticut (SSN-22) arrived at Naval Base Guam on Friday after almost a week sailing on the surface of the Pacific from the South China Sea.

A Naval Sea Systems Command damage assessment team met the Sea Wolf-class attack boat at the pier in Guam, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Cindy Fields told USNI News.

The NAVSEA team is “responsible for coordination of the damage assessment and development of repair recommendations, which is forwarded to Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet and NAVSEA for approval,” she said.
“Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is designated as Naval Supervising Authority for assessment and subsequent temporary repairs. USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) is the lead maintenance activity.”

In parallel, U.S. 7th Fleet is heading up a command investigation into the incident while COMSUBPAC is leading a safety investigation, Fields said.

After arriving in Guam, two of the 11 sailors who were injured when the collision occurred were treated ashore and returned to the attack boat.

No additional details of what Connecticut hit in the South China Sea have been made public.

Chinese officials have demanded additional details about the incident. USNI News understands that it was not another vessel.

“The U.S. should clarify in specific details what happened, including the exact location of the incident, the U.S. side’s navigation intention, the details of the incident, the object the submarine struck, whether the collision caused a nuclear leak or damaged local marine environment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week.

Navy officials told USNI News Thursday that “Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational.”

Connecticut is one of three Seawolf-class attack submarines. The Bremerton, Wash., based submarine left in May for a deployment to the Western Pacific and has made at least two port calls to Japan.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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