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