According to US officials, a US nuclear submarine struck a “unknown item” while submerged in waters in the Asia-Pacific area, wounding a number of personnel.
They said it was unclear what triggered the event on Saturday. The submarine was “completely operational” at the time.
According to unnamed US sources, the accident occurred in international seas in the South China Sea, and 11 servicemen were hurt.
The event occurred while tensions in the region were growing.
The amount of the damage is still being determined, according to the US Navy, although the submarine’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not harmed.
The statement did not indicate where the event occurred or how many individuals were injured, simply that the injuries were not “life threatening.”
However, according to two sources reported by the Associated Press, two of the 11 sailors injured suffered “moderate” injuries. On board the submarine, they were all treated.
The incident occurred when the submarine was performing normal operations, according to those sources, and the Navy did not make the news public until Thursday in order to protect operational security.
Officials told the Associated Press that the item crashed with the USS Connecticut was not another submarine. It might have been a sunken vessel or container, or some undiscovered item, according to one of the authorities mentioned by the agency.
The amount of casualties sustained by the accident, according to Alexander Neill, a Singapore-based defence and security specialist, showed the submarine “struck something huge” and was “moving extremely quickly.”
He described the occurrence as “uncommon but not unheard of,” adding that it had revealed how active the region was with military activity.
“The South China Sea is becoming increasingly crowded with navy warships from many countries. While surface boats have made a lot of show of power, you don’t see the degree of activity below the surface “Mr. Neill explained.
According to the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times, a representative for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China was “extremely worried” about the incident and demanded further information from the US, including the mission’s goal.
The submarine was then believed to be on its way to Guam, a US territory.
According to USNI News, the last known event in which a submerged US submarine collided with another undersea object was in 2005, when the USS San Francisco collided with an underwater mountain near Guam at full speed. The event resulted in the death of one sailor.
The South China Sea Situation
The USS Connecticut was stationed in one of the world’s most dangerous areas. The majority of the South China Sea is claimed by China, although neighboring nations including the United States disagree.
For decades, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam have all contested China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, but tensions have gradually risen in recent years.
In this territorial conflict, the United States has backed several of these countries.
The incident occurs only weeks after the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia signed a landmark security alliance in the Asia-Pacific, ostensibly to confront China.
Meanwhile, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told the BBC that acts that jeopardize peace across the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China, are “very concerning.”
For the fourth day in a row, China has deployed a record number of military planes into Taiwan’s air defense zone.