Chemicals leaked from U.S. submarine in Bahrain
Sat, 24 Feb 2007 22:50:54
Chemical and radioactive substances have leaked from a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine at the repairing site in Bahrain, an Iranian navy official has said.
The substances have leaked from the USS Newport News submarine which collided with a Japanese tanker near the Straits of Hormuz on January 8, Commander of Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Sajjad Kuchaki said.
He added that the USS Newport News collision with the Mogamigawa has happened because of irresponsibility of officials on the American submarine.
"USS Newport News has suffered substantial damages, but Americans tried denying this," Kuchaki stated.
Saying that the submarine has been transferred to the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet, the commander added that although initial reports rejected the spread of chemicals, "Our news sources revealed that traces of chemical and radioactive leakage are evident at the Bahrain port where the U.S. submarine is being repaired."
The Newport News, along with the aircraft carrier Eisenhower Strike Group left its homeport Norfolk for the Persian Gulf in October 2, he said.
Kuchaki added that Commander Matthew A. Weingart was relieved of command due to his recklessness and Captain Norman B. Moore has taken his position.
He further noted that the submarine was transited to Bahrain for temporary repairs, and it will return to the Port of Norfolk for a complete overhaul.
The commander raised the question of why Persian Gulf States and environmental organizations are being indifferent to this matter when they are very well aware of the environmental consequences of the incident.
"The Persian Gulf littoral states and departments that claim they are supportive of the environment, which often exaggerate the smallest oil spill, have not reacted to the spread of chemicals that threaten the region's ecosystem."
Kuchaki went onto say the USS Minneapolis (SSN708) left Norfolk for Europe and stopped in Italy and England for a week.
Four crewmen were swept overboard in rough seas as it pulled out Plymouth harbor in England. The incident occurred due to a hasty and poor decision by the commander.
Pointing out that the presence of crew members on deck is strictly forbidden at time of departure Commander of Iranian navy added, "How could the officials of the mentioned submarine not notice four of their crew members on deck, taking into consideration the importance of this matter, and then start departing?"
The commander expressed regret that American commanders did not value the lives of their soldiers. He was also surprised at how American families trusted such irresponsible commanders.
Kuchaki added that the U.S. commanders' incompetence and irresponsibility were the cause of this tragic incident.
"Countries in the region must not allow their waters to be the parading ground of such people. How can they maintain security in the region and control the flow of oil exports from the Strait of Hormuz with such reckless leadership?"
US denies leaks from nuke-powered submarine
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Manama: A US Navy spokesman yesterday rejected Iranian allegations that chemical and radioactive substances have leaked from a US nuclear-powered submarine currently being repaired in Bahrain, and described it as baseless.
"We have been very transparent and open about the incident and we informed the public about it," Lt. Com. Charlie Brown told Gulf News.
"I am aware of the Iranian allegations on the propaganda channel, but I cannot see the motivation behind the false statement. The Newport News was involved in a collision and there was some damage to the bow. But the propulsion plant was intact," he said.
On January 8, the bow of the Newport News ran into the stern of the Japanese oil tanker Mogamigawa which was passing overhead allegedly at high speed in the 34-mile-wide Straits of Hormuz.
No US sailors or merchant crew were injured in the collision, but the US commander was later relieved of his duties because of "a lack of confidence in his ability to command the Los Angeles-class submarine Newport News."
Iranian Navy commander Rear Admiral Sajjad Kuchaki was quoted by Press TV, Iran, on Saturday as saying that chemical and radioactive substances have leaked from the USS Newport News submarine which collided with a Japanese tanker near the Straits of Hormuz "because of the irresponsibility of officials on the American submarine."