A submarine crash in October 2021 that injured 11 sailors was preventable and resulted from “an accumulation of errors and omissions,” according to a just-released report of a Navy investigation.
The USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class attack submarine, struck an underwater seamount in the South China Sea while operating in a “poorly surveyed” area in international waters, the heavily redacted investigation states.
“A grounding at this speed and depth had the potential for more serious injuries, fatalities and even loss of the ship,” Rear Adm. Christopher Cavanaugh, the investigating officer, wrote in the report.
The collision wasn’t the result of any single action or inaction but was the result of substandard navigation planning and risk management among the submarine’s leadership, Adm. Cavanaugh concluded.
The USS Connecticut was able to return under its own power to Guam, where initial repairs were made before it returned to its home base in Washington state.
The sub’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Cameron Aljilani, was later fired along with the second-in-command and the senior enlisted leader, known as the chief of the boat.
Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the 7th Fleet, determined that “sound judgment, prudent decision-making, and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning, watch team execution and risk management” could have prevented the accident.