What happened in the moments before the San Jacinto collided with the Montpelier

Posted at 9:09 PM, Oct 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-16 06:26:49-04

They were getting ready for a deployment, but now a sub and a ship from the Norfolk-based Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group are stuck in ports in Florida and Georgia after a Saturday collision at sea.

Divers at Naval Station Mayport looked underneath the water line of the USS San Jacinto Monday morning, trying to determine how bad the damage was.

According to CBS news, the San Jacinto's bow hit the USS Montpelier's stern, after the sub surfaced in front of the cruiser during an anti-submarine training exercise.

CBS reports around 3:30 in the afternoon, the bridge watch aboard the San Jacinto saw the Montpelier's periscope suddenly rise about 100-200 yards ahead of them.

The crew immediately put the ship in reverse, but the San Jacinto could not stop in time.

CBS says the collision damaged the cruiser's sonar dome, and sheared off the submarine's rudder.

Still, pictures taken Sunday show both boats sailing on their own, back to Kings Bay and Mayport.

This is the third collision involving Navy ships this year--the first was between the USS Essex and the refueler USNS Yukon back in May off the coast of California, because of a steering malfunction aboard the amphibious assault ship.

The second was in August, with the USS Porter and a Japanese oil tanker in the Straight of Hormuz.

It left a gaping hole in the side of the destroyer; the Navy is still investigating the cause of that collision.

The last sub that collided with a ship was back in March of 2009, where the USS Hartford surfaced in front of the USS New Orleans.

The commander of the Hartford was fired after investigators found the submarine crew to be at fault.

According to CBS, the rules of the sea show that submarines are responsible for making sure there are no other ships in the way before it surfaces.

In this most recent case, the Navy will not say right now if the Montpelier is to blame-- that will be a part of their investigation, trying to determine how this collision with the San Jacinto happened in the first place.

In addition to a formal investigation, a Safety Investigation Board will identify hazards and casual factors for the collision, and make recommendations to prevent future mishaps.

The Truman strike group was preparing for an upcoming deployment, but this collision between two of the group's major assets has many wondering if they will leave on schedule.

According to Fleet Forces Command, until a full assessment is made of the damage, they cannot comment on any impact on the Truman's deployment.


Update: USS Montpelier and USS San Jacinto arrive in port after collision

Two Navy ships collide at sea

Crews prepare to make repairs to USS Porter

Officials release new details about USS Porter