Photos: Damaged Seawolf-Class Submarine Returns to San Diego
The USS Connecticut, one of the most advanced attack submarines in the U.S. Navy fleet, has made port in San Diego after a long transit back from Guam. Connecticut was badly damaged in a collision with an uncharted seamount in the South China Sea on October 2, and she is back in the United States for repairs.
USNI News has confirmed that Connecticut transited the entire distance back from Guam on the surface, as her sonar is disabled and she cannot safely navigate underwater. Guam lacks a dry dock or other advanced repair facilities for submarines, so after basic repairs and a crew change, Connecticut got under way back to the mainland.
The reason for the selection of San Diego as the destination port was not disclosed. The submarine's home port is in Bremerton, Washington, where there is a large public shipyard. However, in recent weeks the Pacific Northwest has been hammered by a series of winter storms - unwelcome weather for a submarine transiting on the surface.
After Connecticut struck a seamount, U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Karl Thomas replaced the submarine's CO, XO and top enlisted officer. In a statement, 7th Fleet said that "sound judgement, prudent decision-making, and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning, watch team execution and risk management could have prevented the incident.”
USS Connecticut is a Seawolf-class nuclear powered attack submarine, a class of three hulls that were built and commissioned in the 1990s. Despite their age, the Seawolfs are some of the most advanced submarines ever delivered, and they are reportedly much quieter than the Los Angeles-class and Virginia-class boats that make up the majority of the Navy's attack sub fleet.