- China accuses the United States of a “lack of transparency” over the accident with the nuclear-powered submarine.
- Eleven sailors aboard the USS Connecticut were injured in the October 2 incident in the South China Sea.
- Connecticut is part of the Seawolf class, the most potent and secretive in the Navy.
The USS Connecticut hit an “uncharted ocean mountain” in early October, damaging the Washington-based submarine and injuring 11 sailors, according to a U.S. Navy study.
The U.S. nuclear-powered vessel was operating in the disputed waters of the South China Sea at the time of the October 2 incident, and China on Tuesday accused the United States of “lacking transparency and accountability.”
The Navy’s investigation is now in the hands of the Deputy Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet, which will take a position on any disciplinary action, told Thomas’ spokeswoman, Hayley Sims, to Kitsap Sun from the United States TODAY Network on Monday.
An ocean mountain is “an underwater mountain formed by volcanic activity,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two sailors among Connecticut’s crew of about 140 suffered “moderate” injuries but did not require hospitalization; the rest were mostly cuts and scratches, the Navy said.
The ship sailed after the accident to Guam, where Navy officials are working to assess and repair damage.
The Chinese government has criticized the navy’s response, calling the released information about the accident a “short and vague statement issued by the US military with deferral”.
The incident happened on October 2, but was only reported by the Navy five days later.
“Once again, we urge the United States to provide a detailed account of the accident,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a Tuesday briefing.
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Last month, the deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that China and other Asian countries were “justified” in asking about Connecticut’s activities before the accident.
“As the party directly involved, it is the responsibility of the United States to provide a detailed explanation in response to the concerns and doubts of the regional countries and the international community,” he said.
The Pentagon has said providing information about the incident shows the Navy is not trying to hide what happened.
“It’s a weird way to cover up something when you put out a press release about it,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on October 12.
Connecticut is one of three submarines that are part of the Seawolf class, the most potent and secretive in the Navy. All three are home-ported in Kitsap County, Washington.
Starring: Associated Press