Assessment of USS Hartford and New Orleans

Monday, March 30, 2009

The U.S. Navy submarine and U.S. amphibious ship that
collided in the Strait of Hormuz March 20, have been undergoing extensive engineering and damage assessments since pulling into Bahrain March 21.

Engineering and technical experts arrived in Bahrain to assess the damage to USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18). They will augment Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) Detachment Bahrain.

Twelve Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY) personnel and two Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) experts are assessing the damage to Hartford and New Orleans and have begun initial in-theater repairs.

While overall damage to both ships is being evaluated, investigators believe Hartford rolled approximately 85 degrees during the collision.

Despite the roll, engineering investigations have confirmed the propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision.

However, Hartford sustained damage to its sail and periscope, as well as the port bow plane.

New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank. Divers have determined the resulting hole is approximately 16 by 18 feet in size. There was also interior damage to two ballast tanks.

In addition to the engineering efforts, two formal investigations are currently underway: a Safety Investigation and a Judge Advocate General Manual (JAGMAN) Investigation. Capt. Craig Kleint, the Dock Landing Ship (LSD) Class Squadron commodore has been appointed as the investigating officer (IO) for the JAGMAN investigation. A senior O-6 submarine officer has been named as the senior member of the Safety Instigation Review, but his name is not releasable until the investigation has been completed.

The Safety Investigation Board is appointed to identify hazards and their causal factors in serious incidents. Their report is an essential tool to identify causes to prevent recurrence.

The JAGMAN investigation is intended to provide a critical and objective overview of what happened. Kleint, a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer, is joined by a post-command submarine officer. They are supported by a three-person legal team.

Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) and Naval Submarine Forces (SUBFOR) are providing extensive support to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) for the Safety Investigation Board and JAGMAN investigation team.

Both investigations have a 30-day initial timeline, but extensions may be granted if more time is needed to complete the investigation process.

Hartford and New Orleans were on regularly scheduled deployments to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations conducting maritime security operations (MSO) when the accident occurred.

(Source: Navy News Service)

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