Collision: U.S. Nuclear Submarine USS Hartford and USS New Orleans in the Strait of Hormuz

by OldSailor on March 21, 2009


U.S. nuclear powered Submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) and Amphibious Transport Dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), collided in the Strait of Hormuz on March 20. An oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine is reported.

This incident has happened within a week, after fire broke out on the flight deck of USS Boxer (LHD 4) while refueling an AH-1W Super Cobra in the Gulf of Aden.

The U.S.Navy press release on collision is given below:

From Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs Strait_of_Hormuz

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) — A U.S. Navy submarine and U.S. amphibious ship collided in the Strait of Hormuz March 20, 2009.
The collision between USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) occurred at approximately 1:00 a.m. local time (5:00 p.m. EDT, March 19).
Fifteen sailors aboard the Hartford were slightly injured and returned to duty. No personnel aboard New Orleans were injured.
Overall damage to both ships is being evaluated. The propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision. New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine. Both ships are currently operating under their own power.
The incident is currently under investigation.
Both the submarine and the ship are currently on regularly scheduled deployments to the U.S. Navy Central Command area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO).
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.

USS Hartford (SSN 768)

Past record: USS Hartford ran aground on October 25, 2003 off La Maddalena, Italy, causing limited damage to her rudders and bottom without any injuries or environmental damage. After temporary repairs, the submarine returned to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for additional repairs.

Photograph of USS Hartford (SSN 768) from U.S.Navy is here.

USS_Hartford_SSN768_1 USS_Hartford_SSN768_2

Fact Sheet on USS Hartford (SSN 768) as pdf document is here.

Photograph of USS New Orleans (LPD 18), Amphibious Transport Dock ship from U.S.Navy is here.


For more information, log on to USS New Orleans (LPD 18) official command website.

Here is a video clip by Pentagon Channel Report on collision.

Posts in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Fishing Made Easy

Electronic Cigarette to Save Smoking Seafarers

Update: March 22

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) is at Bahrain for inspection by U.S. Navy engineers to assess the damage. View photograph at U.S.Navy.

Update: March 23

Damage to USS Hartford (SSN 768) can be clearly seen from U.S.Navy images. Image 1, Image2.

Update: March 28

U.S. Navy news report says that

  • Investigators believe Hartford rolled approximately 85 degrees during the collision and despite this heavy 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.

Read more from U.S.Navy.

Update: April 15

The commanding officer of USS Hartford (SSN 768) Cmdr. Ryan Brookhart, was relieved of command April 14 due to loss of confidence. Read more from U.S.Navy.

Update: April 27

USS New Orleans was dry docked on April 25 at Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard “ASRY” Shipyards in Manama, Bahrain to repair the ship’s hull.

USS Hartford will be repaired in the United States. The submarine recently completed sea trials and is underway, making a surface transit back to her homeport of Groton, Conn. Read more from U.S.Navy.

Update: May 23

USS Hartford has returned to Naval Submarine Base, New London on May 21 after a month-long surface transit from Bahrain. She is expected to enter Electric Boat shipyard for a thorough inspection to assess required repairs following the March 20 collision with the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) in the Strait of Hormuz. Read more from U.S.Navy.

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