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Submarine collision with ship left more extensive damage than first thought

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Kishi said Monday the Souryu was unable to avoid hitting the commercial vessel despite the ship being visible in the submarine's periscope as it surfaced.

Say what.....?

Communications equipment was damaged and they could not report the incident for three hours? Do they not have a smart phone? 

Fax was out of paper and the pigeon was having a nap.

29 ( +33 / -4 )

OK Fellas lots of speculation hear so I will jump in.

Ships are noisy. A sub's detection systems can recognize the the type of propulsion, weight, speed and probably the underwater profile of any ship within its detection range. Let's say 20 kilometers for a fairly passive detection system.

The more active the system is the more chance that the hunter will be detected.T he sub knew where the ship Ocean Artemis was, where it was heading and where it had come from. The app Marine Traffic will tell you this information.

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:689613/mmsi:477814500/imo:9534987/vessel:OCEAN_ARTEMIS

So, Why was the sub so close and what was it doing?

If a submarine wanted to approach the Chinese coast undetected it would have to hide its audio signal.

Japanese submarines are of the highest quality. That is a fact.

However, detection systems are so advanced nowadays and with AI are developing at an ever increasing rate.

That leads me to the assumption that this submarine was practicing or on an active mission to penetrate Chinese waters by hovering just below the Ocean Artemis. Too far below and there would be an audio signal that could be separated from the Ocean Artemis and identify the sub. Too close and there would be physical contact.

There is also the chance that the Ocean Artemis was a known entity with capabilities that the Japanese were assessing.

The Ocean Artemis was leaving Chinese waters and my guess is that the sub hitched a ride on a different vessel in and was hitching a ride home.

Last point. Do not ridicule the quality of Japanese seamen. You know not of what you speak.

All

27 ( +28 / -1 )

The submarine's communications equipment was also damaged in the accident, resulting in the incident not being reported for more than three hours after it occurred at around 10:55 a.m. off Cape Ashizuri in Kochi Prefecture.

Was the fax not working

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Does anyone remember the Ehime Maru incident 20 years ago when an American sub surfaced under a Japanese trawler killing several people? Seems like this could have been a lot worse. Surely there is some kind of protocol before coming to the surface, like checking there are no ships around?

21 ( +21 / -0 )

I think such accident sometimes happen, although Japanese people trust US Navy very much.

Feb.2017 --- Antietam

May.2017 --- Lake Chanplain

Jun.2017 --- Fitzgerald

Aug.2017 --- John S Mccain

If my understanding is incorrect, very sorry.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Communications equipment was damaged and they could not report the incident for three hours? Do they not have a smart phone? Anyway, it was caused by negligence and is a big embarrassment. It will take a lot of money to fix.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

@vanityofvanitiesToday 04:32 pm JST

Do they not have a smart phone?

While it's not obvious because of extensive infrastructure, a 4G cell tower has to be within about 10 miles of the cell phone.

On the other hand, it might be a good idea to procure one satellite phone for each ship and sub, just for cases like this.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Ooooops, I dont think that I would want to be in the subs captins shoes right now! how can you not see a huge ship visibly or on the radar, sonar equipment?

was the bulk carrier ship damaged? was the crew injured?

will the sub be scrapped fits got to have a lot of work undertaken on it?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

A sub doesn’t just blindly surface and have a look after (or shouldn’t) it should have been well aware of the commercial ship if anyone was on the hydrophones, the captain should have had a good idea where it was before surfacing so I can’t quite see how he managed this or how he will explain it! Kishi’s comment doesn’t quite make sense unless he was subtly implying utter incompetence by the captain.

Perhapse the captain will claim he was drunk and can’t remember?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Submarines inevitably train to use big civilian traffic to cover their presence, without letting the ships used know they are doing it. It would seem that in this instance the Submarine got closer than it wanted to and was damaged. Unable to come clean on these maneuvers the navy has concocted the story of damage while surfacing. In war time such ability to maneuver in close with bulk carriers can be the difference in running a gauntlet of anti submarine measures or being found and destroyed.

This type of training is needed for survival and mission success but it has its obvious drawbacks and dangers.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

A lot of naval experts posting here it seems.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

That’ll polish out. Glad no one was seriously hurt but I suspect someone expects to be visiting Hello Work pretty soon.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

As garymalmgren and Peter14 have already said. Most likely the sub was using the Ocean Artemis. As a camouflage object to avoid detection. As a Trojan horse.

It is a maneuver used by most of the world's major navies. Except this time it ended in an accident. Which fortunately no one died.

If anyone has seen the humorous movie "Down Periscope". There is a scene where a submarine literally goes under an oil tanker. So that the active sonar system does not detect the submarine. Only the oil tanker. It is for someone to get the idea.

Anyway. The type of mission of that submarine is still unknown.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

gerymalmgren....thanks for the interesting insight.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

How? I expected a certain level of incompetence but this is even beyond Japan's standards.

6 ( +22 / -16 )

There was an incident in the 1980s where a Soviet Victor class sub tried to surface directly underneath the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. It hit the bottom of the Kitty, knocking the conning tower off the Soviet boat. The sub surfaced alongside the carrier sans conning tower. Very minor damage to the Kitty Hawk and afterwards among the many awards and such painted on her bridge, things like Battle Efficiency Es and several different awards for wartime service there was a little red submarine outline. It was the talk of North Island when she returned home.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This is sensitive information being openly shown and advertised to the enemy, now they know Japan is already down by one sub.

Dude, get a grip. Number one, have you heard of satellites? Nothing even remotely sensitive was revealed that the Russians, Chinese and anyone who spends time with Google Maps hasn't already seen to the point of boredom. Heck, they are shown out of the water before they are launched in a public ceremony. Second, it hit a commercial ship. There is no way to keep that secret. There will be a mishap report and that will be largely public for legal reasons. In any event, the sub would be seen on satellites when it enters the yards for repairs. Those satellites only take 45 minutes to orbit the Earth and there are more than one doing so, surveillance is pretty much continuous.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Submarines inevitably train to use big civilian traffic to cover their presence, without letting the ships used know they are doing it. It would seem that in this instance the Submarine got closer than it wanted to and was damaged. Unable to come clean on these maneuvers the navy has concocted the story of damage while surfacing. In war time such ability to maneuver in close with bulk carriers can be the difference in running a gauntlet of anti submarine measures or being found and destroyed.

This type of training is needed for survival and mission success but it has its obvious drawbacks and dangers.

I'm going to paint you a little different picture. Sub wants to surface but knows there is surface traffic in the area. SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is to come slowly to periscope depth, put the periscope up and have a look around for nearby traffic before surfacing. However as bad fortune would have it there is a big dry bulk carrier right above the sub, and since it is a huge and heavy ship (they are often as large as the largest supertankers), it sits deeper in the water than the sub's conning tower at periscope depth. Ergo, the sub hits the bottom of the bulk carrier's hull before it even reaches a depth where it can use its periscope. That is my guess at this point but we will have to wait and see what the mishap investigation ends up revealing.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Lesson here:

If you're going to fabricate an excuse, make sure everyone goes along with the same story.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I definitely smelled a rat earlier when they said there was little damage. I've seen a few collisions in my day, on land and at sea, and with all that tonnage and one vessel coming up from below, there was bound to be significant damage. If they are anything like the old U.S. navy, heads WILL roll and a few early retirements just got processed without any paperwork being done. Sonar and navigation should have known that ship was there and averted the collision. No excuse for this.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

All Navies in the world try to keep track of all warships in their areas of interest. You can be certain that Xi gets a daily report for locations of all subs nearby with prior and guessed future locations.

Good luck with that. How easy do you think it is to track a submarine?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Many events/accidents happen with subs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

People ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN!!! Had it been China do you think they would have reported at all?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Oh, yes! A state of the art Japanese submarine couldn’t detect a huge iron ore bulk carrier directly above it and collided with it causing major damage to the sub and possibly the ship. Yes Japan, the world is laughing at you, again. What a joke!

The Soruyu's are considered the best diesel electric subs made. What remains unknown are what procedures the JMSDF uses for clearance before surfacing, whether those procedures are adequate or whether the crew failed to follow the correct procedures. A sub is I believe supposed to take a look from periscope depth before coming to the surface, but if a ship with a deep enough draft (the "draft" is the depth of the ship below the surface of the water) is above the sub I could see a situation where the sub strikes the hull of the ship before it can reach periscope depth. An iron ore bulker can be a very big and deep draft ship so this is a possibility not to be overlooked. While a sub's sonar will register the presence of a nearby ship, it won't necessarily tell you if it is directly above or not.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Since we are all experts here, the sub may have been just below the surface, looking around when the ship hit. This ship has current draught reported to be 14.9 meters. That's more than a periscope.

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:689613/mmsi:477814500/imo:9534987/vessel:OCEAN_ARTEMIS

If the sub Captain didn't do a "crazy Ivan" before reducing depth, so the sonarman could listen in the wake for a minute, it is possible not to hear anything from behind the boat.

But I'm sure the other experts here will correct me.

All Navies in the world try to keep track of all warships in their areas of interest. You can be certain that Xi gets a daily report for locations of all subs nearby with prior and guessed future locations. The same applies to every aircraft carrier in the world today.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's uncanny how this happened almost 20 years to the day that the Ehime Maru incident occurred, which both are related to southwest Shikoku.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Might not just be airline pilots that need alcohol testing before work.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

On 2nd thought, that will not, in fact “buff right out”.....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fighto!Feb. 9  10:25 pm JST

 If they are anything like the old U.S. navy, heads WILL roll and a few early retirements just got processed without any paperwork being done. Sonar and navigation should have known that ship was there and averted the collision. No excuse for this.

I think you are being slightly unfair on the Commander. Captaining a submarine is incredibly difficult. Only the best of the best Naval officers would ever get near such a position. 99% would fail the tests. It is probably 100 times more challenging than skippering a regular vessel.

I recommend the brilliant German film Das Boot to gain an understanding of the challenges of piloting these subs. Toughest job in the military.

I understand your point but a movie is a movie. Anyway, I don't think anyone gave the Greenville's captain any such slack and he is still apologizing to this day. No excuses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

resulting in the incident not being reported for more than three hours after it occurred at around 10:55 a.m

So the person in charge probably thought how to soften things up and report it above..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Soryus have had poor showings in RIMPAC drills.

Waving the BS flag. The outcomes of exercises carried out during RIMPAC are classified. Take if from someone who has sailed with the JMSDF, they are the best ASW navy in the world, and their subs are revered as the next best thing to a US Navy nuclear sub.

MSDF is not a navy; it's sort of a coast guard manned by civilians.

I have been attached to a JMSDF task force and know otherwise. While they are low key about it, their training and equipment are among the very best in the world, and woe to any enemy sub that doesn't take the JMSDF seriously. I still remember the occasion two JMSDF ships sat on top of a Chinese sub for two days hammering it with aircraft sonar. Two straight days of that racket and the crew was probably ready for a rubber room.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If the sub Captain didn't do a "crazy Ivan" before reducing depth, so the sonarman could listen in the wake for a minute, it is possible not to hear anything from behind the boat.

This maneuver is used to detect another submarine that might have been following behind in what are called the "baffles". the blind spot behind the sub. However today many subs have a towed sonar they trail behind the sub so they are not blind in the aft quarter. It doesn't do much to detect surface traffic directly above. Most navies require the sub to rise to periscope depth and conduct a visual check by periscope before surfacing.

Your link requires membership to view. MV Ocean Artemis is shown in two different sites that track maritime traffic in near real time to have a "current draft" of 14.9 meters. That is about 49 feet. Pretty deep. Maybe deeper than the top of the sub's conning tower at periscope depth?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

even "russian threat" is not needed another few accidents and jpn navy will be without submarines...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

If the JMSDF had Court Martial capability this Captain would be a defendant. However I suspect he will be charged with civilian navigation laws by the JCG. Ansolutely no excuse for this accident unless there was equipment failure.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

 If they are anything like the old U.S. navy, heads WILL roll and a few early retirements just got processed without any paperwork being done. Sonar and navigation should have known that ship was there and averted the collision. No excuse for this.

I think you are being slightly unfair on the Commander. Captaining a submarine is incredibly difficult. Only the best of the best Naval officers would ever get near such a position. 99% would fail the tests. It is probably 100 times more challenging than skippering a regular vessel.

I recommend the brilliant German film Das Boot to gain an understanding of the challenges of piloting these subs. Toughest job in the military.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

n case of Australia, they didn't even bother to ask for price before dropping it; Soryu wasn't good enough for Australia and didn't meet technical requirements. Heck, Aussies complained that Soryu was in some aspect WORSE than the Collins class they were trying to replace, half the range, lower cruise speed, and tighter crew compartment.

Not true. The Japanese were offering a modified version with expanded crew accommodations for larger Australian bodies that fully met Australian requirements. The Japanese entered the competition feeling they had the obviously superior product and would win the competition purely on merit. Anyone who has exercised with them knows this to be the case. The French wined and dined Australian politicians and did extensive socialization of their product. The Japanese team have no experience in the highly competitive international arms market and don't know how to pitch their product to foreign politicians. They didn't shmooze Aussie pols the way the French did. Don't confuse superior salesmanship with superior product. The RAN didn't get the best sub. Currently the program is running behind schedule, over budget and DCNS is not meeting their commitment to spend 60% of the contract value locally in Australia. The contract is being re-negotiated now for resubmission later this month. There has even been some talk of the Australian MoD abandoning the project altogether and re-bidding it, though officially this is being denied.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

n case of Australia, they didn't even bother to ask for price before dropping it; Soryu wasn't good enough for Australia and didn't meet technical requirements. Heck, Aussies complained that Soryu was in some aspect WORSE than the Collins class they were trying to replace, half the range, lower cruise speed, and tighter crew compartment.

I also have to shake my head a bit. I don't know what Australian or French submarines are like, but American SSNs are incredibly cramped. Nobody but the officers have individual racks. There aren't enough bunks for that. Most of the crew hot racks (share a bunk with one or two other crew members). Time for meals is restricted to ten minutes. Get in the chow line, get your food, sit down at a table, slam it down your neck and move on so the next crew member has a place to sit. Berthing is so tight that many crew members find out of the way places in their work centers to sleep in a sleeping bag. It's more comfortable than the berthing spaces. Crew members have to turn sideways to pass each other in narrow passageways. Nuclear subs are jam packed with equipment with just barely enough room for the crew to operate them. Old US Navy subs from WWII are luxury liners compared to a modern US Navy SSN. So this crying about the Japanese sub being too cramped falls on deaf ears in my case.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hi Desert Tortoise

Re+ The RAN didn't get the best sub.

I agree completely with that statement.

However from what I read the deal with the Japanese fell through on how much work would be carried out in Australian shipyards.

It was of great concern the secret construction and materials details could too easily be compromised.

All it would need would be a welder to take a scrap of metal home and err put it up for sale on the internet.

Not that that would EVER happen!!!

gary

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Someone definitely did not do his job at the sonar console.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Kiwikid

How? I expected a certain level of incompetence but this is even beyond Japan's standards.

Japanese SDF isn't military; it's like armed police.

If a soldier decides to walk out of job, that's called desertion and he is court-marshalled.

If an SDF member decides to walk out of job, that's called not showing up for work and the worst he gets is getting fired.

@Brian Wheway

will the sub be scrapped fits got to have a lot of work undertaken on it?

It looks repairable.

@vanityofvanities

Do they not have a smart phone?

Modern smartphones have very short-range, a couple miles at most.

@garymalmgren

Japanese submarines are of the highest quality. That is a fact.

Soryus have had poor showings in RIMPAC drills.

@Fighto!

the JMSDF - world's 4th strongest Navy

JMSDF is not a navy; it's sort of a coast guard manned by civilians.

@Desert Tortoise

The Soruyu's are considered the best diesel electric subs made. 

Yet Aussies dropped Soryu without even asking for prices in its submarine tender.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Sounds like an Analog Tech to me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Desert Tortoise

While they are low key about it, their training and equipment are among the very best in the world,

The historical fact is that both Australia and India dropped Soryu from their submarine tenders at the very first round.

In case of Australia, they didn't even bother to ask for price before dropping it; Soryu wasn't good enough for Australia and didn't meet technical requirements. Heck, Aussies complained that Soryu was in some aspect WORSE than the Collins class they were trying to replace, half the range, lower cruise speed, and tighter crew compartment.

That statement pretty much destroyed the fantasy that Japanophiles had about Japanese warships.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Kishi said Monday the Souryu was unable to avoid hitting the commercial vessel despite the ship being visible in the submarine's periscope as it surfaced.

Given the delay of more than 3 hours, it is possible that the screw of this submarine has something serious to hide. This incident remind me the criminal case of Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, the first officer of Japan Airline, in the ABC News article titled "Japan Airlines cracks down on pilots drinking alcohol, upgrades breathalysers internationally" on November 16, 2018:

..."Katsutoshi Jitsukawa had drunk about two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before he was due to fly from London's Heathrow Airport last month.

He had tried to avoid colleagues to mask the smell of alcohol as they prepared for their flight.

But the driver of a crew bus smelt alcohol on his breath and told police, who charged him for violating British aviation law.

Tests found the 42-year-old first officer had 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system — a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.189, almost 10 times the 0.02 BAC limit for a pilot.

the Japan Navy needs to properly investigate this incident and punish the culprits in the harshest way to avoid more serious disasters.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

There is no plausible excuse... Is that true, about simple sonar and pings, only possible in forward direction? Of course they had to install a second sonar then, for the backside , what also would avoid those crazy maneuvering up to surface, and in addition everything has to work of course without any or only a minimum of any sophisticated technical devices, just like under conflict or severe damage conditions. Alone the fact, that such important communication devices are so easily damaged for hours or destroyed....unbelievable. Also, there is surely enough other civilian and military information available, from the ship’s base, from intelligence, coast guard, harbor authorities and so on, to know which other ships are near, what’s their routes, means where they come from and intend to go to and their probable current position.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They should have heard the commercial ship’s propellor churning the water-they were careless...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Sound like it's Amateur Night on the high seas surrounding Japan...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

As long as we aren't really starting a war.

Get real!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

China 1, Japan 0. Beijing must be delighted. How to take one sub out of action. ha ha

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

This is sensitive information being openly shown and advertised to the enemy, now they know Japan is already down by one sub.

Headline should read, Chinese Ship disables Japanese Submarine in Maritime Skirmish lol..............

Incompetence at high levels in all departments being shown by this bunch of amateurs in this country.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

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