USS Connecticut Struck Underwater Object in the South China Sea.

uss connecticut

Minor injuries for a handful of Sailors were reported after the USS Connecticut, a Seawolf Class submarine, struck something as it was submerged in international waters in the South China Sea. No one knows what it hit, and the submarine was still in ‘safe and stable condition’, according to the Navy. The vessel then sailed for an emergency stop in Guam on October 7.

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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. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life threatening injuries.

The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. 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.

U.S. Pacific Fleet statement October

The USS Connecticut is one of three Seawolf class fast-attack nuclear powered vessels that are about as secretive as they are expensive. Though the Navy statement did not mention the location, other sources noted that it was somewhere in the South China Sea. And before you ask, the Navy Times reported there are no land masses in that region. So what did they hit that caused minor injuries to at least 11 Sailors?

A Navy statement did not confirm what kind of object the submarine struck, but an official who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the record said that the area’s topography at the time did not indicate there was a land mass in front of the boat.

There are also no indications that the mishap was hostile or that the sub collided with another vessel, according to the official, who cautioned that information on the incident is preliminary at this point.

While two crew members suffered moderate injuries, no one required evacuation from the boat, according to the official, who declined to provide a total number of sailors injured but described those injuries as “bumps, bruises and lacerations.”

Navy Times

According to the Navy Times, the sub had to transit to Guam via the surface, and they reported there were 11 injuries. Reuters reported that there were 15 injuries. The USS Connecticut is one of only three in the Seawolf class, and information regarding the class of secretive submarines is carefully doled out to the media without revealing anything important. We previously wrote about the USS Jimmy Carter, one of the other three Seawolf class subs. The USS Seawolf is the third.

A Seawolf class submarine

China’s reaction

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called it “very worrying” news of the collision of the US nuclear submarine in international waters of the Indo-Pacific, says the Russian news agency TASS.

“China is deeply concerned about this incident. The United States and other countries involved must make known all relevant details, including the exact location of the accident, the mission the submarine was involved in, the object the submarine collided with, if there has been radiation leakage or damage to the environment“, said this Friday the spokesman of the ministry, Zhao Lijian.

“The United States is delaying the release of information about the incident and trying to cover it up. They are acting in an opaque and irresponsible way”, added the spokesman


The Navy stated emphatically that the nuclear reactor of the submarine was not damaged.


Featured screenshot: Thiep Van Nguyen II/US Navy/DVIDS

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