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USS Hartford returns to US for repairs - bottomed out in shallow water

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Postby dietzer » Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:31 pm

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A nuclear-powered submarine is on its way back to the United States for repairs after being damaged when it ran aground last month off the coast of Sardinia.

After sea trials to ensure the submarine could make the voyage safely, a U.S. 6th Fleet statement says, the USS Hartford left a naval support facility on the island of La Maddalena, off Sardinia's northern coast, on Tuesday for Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

The incident occurred at 12:40 p.m. October 25, when the submarine briefly touched bottom while traveling on the surface in shallow water east of Caprera.

A Navy official said such a grounding is "obviously not a common occurrence," but that the incident did not affect the submarine's watertight integrity or its propulsion plant. Divers found damage to the rudder and scrapes on the hull.

No sailors were injured in the incident, nor were any other vessels involved.

After an investigation, Capt. Greg Parker, commander of Submarine Squadron 22, and Cmdr. Christopher Van Metre, commanding officer of the Hartford, were relieved of their commands.

They, three other officers and three enlisted crewmembers were also charged with dereliction of duty and received individual punishments in a nonjudicial proceeding.

The USS Hartford is based in Groton, Connecticut, and had just begun a six-month deployment when the incident occurred.
Carl Dietz
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