View Full Version : US Navy Sub accidentally sinks a tug boat at Midway Island.
3rd March 2010, 23:59
4th March 2010, 01:17
I suppose it would have been too easy for the sub to stop and have the tug come alongside while it was stopped and transfer mail and passengers.
Some knowledgable USN type said the sub was following S.O.P. I should hope that some redundant admiral somewhere in the depths of the Pentagon would have realised that S.O.P. needs changing. Pretty sad performance all round that cost the life.
4th March 2010, 02:12
When getting away from any moving vessel you NEVER go astern like that.
The sub should have turned gently to port (if able) and the tug should have peeled off to stbd. If not then the sub should have stopped and allowed the tug a clear the side.
4th March 2010, 02:52
The sub seems to have the rudder hard over for a starboard turn to get away from the tug,what sank her,do you think it was the vortex of the sub or was there a rope tangled in the prop of the sub. I remember a video that was shown on SN where a new tug was sucked under somewhere up in Canada.
4th March 2010, 04:52
If you look down the list of videos when viewing this sub/tug video, you will see one labeled Skookumchuk Narrows. It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with insufficient knowledge of the power of the outflow in the Narrows on an ebb tide.
4th March 2010, 05:29
When the video starts the tug is forward on what could be loosely termed the shoulder. I know subs don't have them however with a stbd turn being executed the tug was essentially steaming to stbd into the tug. If the sub had altered AWAY from tug at that stage the tug would have fallen away from the sub and been able to steam away.
Once the tug tried to go astern she fell back into an area of enormous suction. These subs draw well over 40 foot on the surface and that would be close to four times the draft of a small tug like that. She never had a chance with the stbd swing on like that.
I have personal experience of this in Port Hedland sailing deep drafted bulk carriers drawing 19 + metres. Once they get up to over 4 knots the tugs have a hell of a time getting away from them and they try and clear before then. The added problem of a narrow vertical sided channel as well makes for even more fun!
As these monsters swing to port around Point Cook on departure the wall of water welling up behind them on the port quarter has to be seen to be believed. The suction is suffiecient to drag a tug into the ship and even full astern will not stop it.
Pilots and ships masters need to understand the hydro dynamics that sre going on around their vessels and how little a small vessel to can do once the big one gets up speed. 4 knots seemed to be a magic number..........anything more than that and things can get very hairy very qiuickly.
I wonder if they will ask an experienced tug master to assist in the enquiry of the sinking. I will not be holding my breath.........
4th March 2010, 09:06
Notwithstanding what procedures may or may not have been followed, it is very hard to understand why the sub`s command did not cease travelling forward at such a rate of knots much, much earlier, when it became patently obvious (at least a few minutes before), that this was building up to a major problem.
4th March 2010, 11:11
It seems to be a major problem every time these US subs surface, perhaps they don't get enough time doing surface maneuvers.
4th March 2010, 13:36
It looks like the bottom of the tug may have been sliced open when she was hung up on the plane, which despite the tug going full astern he could not get off until the stern started to sink and the Bow lifted combined with the Sub turning. Possibly similiar damage as with the Japanese Fisheries Training vessel.
4th March 2010, 15:12
Well the Board of inquiry have a very good video of the accident.
4th March 2010, 16:12
There appear to be a number of virtual swords pointing at the sub commander already.
4th March 2010, 16:35
It's certainly not a virtual sinking, the Tugs predicament reminds me of the "Fittleton" tragedy when she got stuck inside the "Mermaids" Bow pressure wave. It would appear that the Sub OC decided that the transfer had been completed and he could increase speed not thinking about the Tug having to clear the inner zone of his Bow wave, I wonder if anyone who works on a Pilot Cutter has any comments as they come across this "type" of situation every day.
Louis XXV de France
6th October 2012, 02:00
After repeatedly and carefully reviewing this old footage, several things seem apparent that are missing from discussions throughout the web regarding this incident.
1. All was well at the conclusion of the transfer of men/materials from or to the tug. At this time the submarine was barely under way; one can tell by the movement of the water early in the video and the lack of relative wind, etc.
2. As soon as the transfer was complete, the submarine begins accelerating; it has been understood since that the tug's prime mover went momentarily off line. This is why the tug boat appears to fall back. It was unable to maneuver for the moment; meanwhile the submarine continues to accelerate away. This becomes obvious to the viewer by the rapid increase of wake and apparent wind. It was then incumbent upon the the officer in command of the submarine to refrain from accelerating or getting under way while the other vessel was not yet clear of his own and well off, even if this turn of events had to be shouted to him by the crew on deck.
3. By the time that the tugboat was able to restore main power, it was already being rammed from behind by the starboard dive plane, which caught and dragged the now doomed tugboat through the water, its hull likely holed already and the prop irretrievably damaged. As clearly revealed in the video by the black soot blowing out his funnel, the master of the tug pushed his diesel with all it had once it was running again, but was unable to free his vessel from the submarine as it continued to accelerate and turn away. When the fatally damaged tug did finally break free of the sub's dive plane, she fell over and sunk almost immediately at the stern.
The primary burden of culpability in this unfortunate incident rests principally with the hasty departure and careless navigation of the submarine. That kind of rushing away from a normally routine ship to ship transfer should only be excused under an emergency or a state of war.
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.