On Oct. 2, 2021, a United States Seawolf-class fast attack, nuclear submarine, the USS Connecticut (SSN-22), “struck an object” while operating in international waters in the South China Sea. I have not been able to find out what it struck, but thankfully, the damage caused did not prevent it from getting back to its homeport in Guam unaided.
Apparently the bow of the boat was damaged and there were eleven sailors injured in the incident. According to reports I have seen, the injuries appear to have been relatively minor. There were no reported major injuries in the incident.
The USS Connecticut, along with the USS Jimmy Carter are late Cold War models of nuclear powered, fast attack submarines that were designed to hunt Russia’s most technologically advanced submarines. They have a reputation of being exceptionally effective and lethal deterrents in the unique environments of submarine warfare. We are glad that this incident was not more severe and that the sailors aboard her were not seriously injured.
Serious as all of this is, there is always room for a little humor. It seems that the USS Connecticut is no stranger to encounters with strange objects. Back in 2003, the boat was on a mission under the Arctic Sea ice and surfaced through the ice, as was planned. Such maneuvers had been done before many times.
On this particular occasion, the conning tower created a tempting curiosity for one of the fiercest denizens of the frozen world of the Arctic Sea, a huge polar bear. It seems that this “strange object” was too interesting not to be investigated.
As you know, these huge, pure white bears hunt seals way out over the ocean on the ice that covers the Arctic Sea in the winter months. This big guy must have thought that this was the biggest seal he had ever seen and fancied that he had died and gone to heaven with the site of such a vast meal before him.
You can see in the pictures provided here that he sauntered up to the hulking grey colored behemoth that had broken through the ice and proceeded to lick it and feel it and test its bulk with his own full weight and brute force. One can only imagine that he was one hungry polar bear, or just one very curious wanderer of the ice. After all, you don’t see something like this breaking through the ice every day.
Sailors are well known for their ability to tell “sea-stories.” Well this one is one of the more hilarious and it has the pictures to prove it.