Rare US submarine crash in the South China Sea

Unknown object struck while submerged damaged nuclear attack submarine USS Connecticut and injured eleven members of his crew, revealed the US Navy, Thursday, October 7. The accident happened on October 2 “In the international waters of the Indo-Pacific region”, according to her, in the South China Sea, the press said. The event falls badly for the US fleet, in the midst of high military tensions with China around Taiwan and in the context of the Aukus Pact – the planned delivery of nuclear-powered submersibles to Australia.

L’USS Connecticut, Seawolf-class vessel, in service for twenty-four years, is one of the most efficient and stealthy in the world. He had just participated in allied exercises with Japan and the United Kingdom. “The submarine remains safe and stable. The nuclear propulsion plant and the spaces of the submarine were not affected and remain fully operational ”, communicated the US Pacific Fleet Command. The ship has reached the island of Guam for repairs.

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No life-threatening injury is deplored, but the number of injured reflects a significant shock, say specialists. While waiting for additional information, everything is possible to explain it: container or waste, other submarine or underwater drone, underground drilling, rock. In the Pacific, the last serious diving accident experienced by the American submarine dates from 2005, when theUSS San-Francisco hit a submerged mountain from the front, leaving one dead and twenty wounded.

“Fighting wolf”

The accident is significant, because navigating in this region rich in natural resources has become a strategic affair, as Beijing sanctuaries its approaches and bases its military power on islets disputed by many riparian states. “China is gravely concerned” by this collision, said the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, Thursday, asking for explanations on the circumstances of the accident.

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The China Sea is becoming dangerously congested, attracting ever more warships from the Indo-Pacific, the West and Russia. It is a question of defending the freedom of navigation which is contested by China, but also of carrying out exercises with local partners, or of conducting intelligence missions. Numerous submarines now pass each other in the area. “If China, Russia or any other country is adopting conflicting ‘wolf-fighting’ underwater tactics, like China’s unprofessional attitude in the air and at sea , it should be a wake-up call for everyone ”, writes Craig Hooper, in the American magazine Forbes.

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