USS Montpelier collides with cruiser
The Associated Press | October 15,2012
The nuclear submarine USS Montpelier arrives in Souda Harbor on the Greek island of Crete in this 2007 image provided by the U.S. Navy.
NORFOLK, Va. — The Pentagon said late Saturday that it is investigating why a Navy submarine named after Vermont’s capital collided with an Aegis cruiser off the East Coast.
The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said the submarine USS Montpelier and the Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto collided at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday during routine operations. No one was injured, and the extent of any damage to the vessels was not clear Saturday evening, said Lt. Commander Brian Badura of the Fleet Forces Command.
“We have had circumstances where Navy vessels have collided at sea in the past, but they’re fairly rare as to how often they do take place,” Badura said.
Navy officials said the collision was under investigation, but declined to offer specifics on what happens next or on where the incident took place.
“If we do have an incident that does take place, there are folks that swing into action ... to help us make a better, more conclusive explanation of exactly what happened,” Badura said.
Fleet Forces Command’s statement said “overall damage to both ships is being evaluated,” and that the sub’s propulsion plant was “unaffected by the collision.”
Both Navy ships are based at Norfolk, Va. and are operating on their own power, the statement says.
The USS Montpelier, also known as SSN 765 or “Mighty Monty,” underwent a $120 million tuneup at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine in 2004-05 after taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was the first submarine to fire a Tomahawk cruise missile into Iraq from the Persian Gulf.
“A very significant portion of what went on there at that time was by submarines and the Montpelier was the first one,” said Capt. Mark Davis, commanding officer of the USS Montpelier at the time.
“I’ve been in the submarine force 23 years and you work up and train for this all your life, and to actually get to do something like that is a remarkable thing,” Davis said in a 2005 interview with the Rutland Herald.
The USS Montpelier was commissioned in 1993. It’s a Los Angeles-class, nuclear-powered submarine with enough fuel on board to last for the entire 33-year lifespan of the vessel. The sub, which carries 150 crew, returns to port for system upgrades and maintenance work about once every 10 years.