This post is a little different because the subject is a submarine, specifically the USS Connecticut, a US Navy nukuler attack submarine. The Connecticut had an incident in the South China Sea on Oct 2, 2021. Initially, there was speculation on the internetz that it had collided with a Chinese submarine. However, it turns out that the boat simply crashed into an underwater terrain feature, which the Navy calls an “uncharted bathymetric feature.”
The Sub Brief YouTube channel has an excellent video on what happened and what went wrong.
What does a submarine running aground have to do with Personal Protection? The stack up of numerous problems, some of which had been going on for quite a while, and others that were immediate, caused the grounding.
Just one thing after another and this is how casualties happen. Casualties are very rarely isolated incidents, they cascade. This casualty, this collision cascaded all over the boat from the sonar being destroyed forward to the engine room believing they had lost propulsion to the machinery room catching on fire. Everybody’s having a bad time all of a sudden because casualties will cascade and that’s what’s happening here. Immediate actions of this crew is outstanding and probably is what saved the ship because whenever they were losing … buoyancy, sinking past 74 feet without propulsion, they were screwed. That is a dying submarine. Whenever you do the emergency blow and you still have negative buoyancy and you don’t have propulsion, well guess what, you know you better start making plans for the next life because you’re almost done with this one.https://youtu.be/IPr7Yrwgly4?t=2396
Laxity, failure to pay attention to detail, and poor or absent communication all contributed to what could have been a tragic loss of a submarine and its entire crew.
Executive Summary [from the Final Investigative Report]
14. (U) On 2 October 2021, CONNECTICUT grounded on an uncharted bathymetric feature while operating submerged in a poorly surveyed area in international waters. This mishap was preventable. It resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watchteam execution, and risk management that fell far below U.S. Navy standards. Prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in any of these three areas could have prevented the grounding.
Here is a short summary of the incident and findings of the investigation. https://news.usni.org/2022/05/24/investigation-uss-connecticut-south-china-sea-grounding-result-of-lax-oversight-poor-planning
The link to the full redacted investigation report is here. https://news.usni.org/2022/05/23/command-investigation-into-uss-connecticuts-south-china-sea-seamount-grounding
Consider how many things can stack up to cause additional problems in a Personal Protection incident as you watch the video.