http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/04/n ... s_042609w/
Damaged sub crossing ocean, amphib in dry dock
By Andrew Scutro - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 28, 2009 17:47:18 EDT
After being out of action in the Middle East for more than a month, a submarine and amphib that collided just outside the Strait of Hormuz on March 20 have begun the next phase of their repairs.
The week of April 19, the attack submarine Hartford began a surface transit back to the U.S., and amphibious transport dock New Orleans went into dry dock Saturday in Bahrain, said Lt. Nate Christensen, a 5th Fleet spokesman.
Christensen said the mishap and safety investigations are not yet complete.
The collision occurred with Hartford submerged but near the surface as both were entering the Persian Gulf at night. The contact tore a 16-by-18-foot hole in the hull of New Orleans, ripping open a fuel tank and two ballast tanks. There was “substantial” flooding after the accident, Christensen said.
Hartford’s sail was bent and partially torn off the hull. A bowplane was also reported damaged.
Both were able to limp into Bahrain.
Ship repair teams from Naval Sea Systems Command have been working on the ships since shortly after the accident.
“There were repairs made to Hartford when it was in port,” he said. “They made the ship safe for transit.”
By Saturday, Hartford was scheduled to have cleared the Strait of Hormuz. Christensen said he didn’t know Hartford’s final destination, but the ship will likely return to its home port of Groton, Conn., for repairs. Experts have said such a submarine surface transit would require an armed escort.
The Navy relieved Hartford’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Ryan Brookhart, on April 14. Christensen said there have been no other personnel changes on either ship, pending completion of the two inquiries.
The ship left San Diego as part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group on Jan. 9. This is New Orleans’ maiden deployment.