December 24, 2011 – The USS Kentucky in Close Call near the Juan de Fuca Strait: A freighter captain’s keen eye helped avert a run-in with a nuclear-powered American submarine in the Juan de Fuca Strait, a body of water that splits Washington state and the British Columbia coasts, according to a U.S. periodical. The incident, which saw the freighter and submarine come within 800 meters (2,624 feet) of each other, took place in early October but is only coming to light this week, says the Navy Times, which calls itself; “An independent source for news and information for the navy community.” The Navy Times said that at around 8:00AM Pacific Time on October 12, 2011; the USS Kentucky ballistic-missile submarine had its periscope above water, but was otherwise hidden below the surface when it turned onto a new course that was blocked by a cargo ship. The submarine’s commanding officer, concerned about a trawler, ordered a change of course, but neither he nor the officer of the deck looked through the periscope to check if the new course was clear. The captain of the Totem Ocean ship Midnight Sun, which makes runs between Tacoma, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska; saw the periscope and began turning to avoid the collision. After being informed via a radio call from the outside, the submarine’s crew discovered their error and began maneuvers to avoid hitting the ship. The Navy Times, which filed a request for a report on the incident under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, wrote that Commander Joseph Nosse, who was serving as commanding officer for the USS Kentucky, was fired on October 19th for ”inadequate leadership;” stemming from a number of incidents. The U.S. navy would not comment on the incident, and said it is policy not to discuss current submarine operations.
The USS Kentucky is an Ohio Class Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine. It was Laid down, December 18, 1987; at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, Groton, Connecticut; Launched, August 11, 1990; and Commissioned the USS Kentucky (SSBN-737) on July 13, 1991. The USS Kentucky is assigned to the US Atlantic Fleet and is home ported at Kings Bay, Georgia.
Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 16,764 t., Submerged: 18,750 t.; Length 560 feet; Beam 42 feet; Draft 29 feet; Speed, Surfaced 20+ knots (23+ MPH), Submerged 25 knots (29 MPH); Depth limit 800 feet. The ships company is comprised of 155 nine each Blue and Gold crews. Armament, 24 Trident I and II missile tubes, four 21 inch torpedo tubes, MK-48 torpedoes; Sensors, BQQ-6 Bow mounted sonar, BQR-19 Navigation, BQS-13 Active sonar, and TB-16 towed array. Propulsion System, One S8G nuclear reactor core reloaded every nine years, two geared steam turbines, one shaft, with an output of 60,000 horse power.
The Master of Disaster