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January 13th, 2011
Submarine Head-On Collision

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The Los Angeles-class, USS San Francisco (SSN-711) received the Battle Efficiency "E" for her independent operations in 1988. However, on Jan. 8 of 2005 collided with an undersea mountain off the coast of Guam. At the time of the incident, the sub was operating at max speed in a depth of 500 feet. The entire San Francisco was almost lost but the crew managed to recover and save the sub. 23 crewman were injured and Joseph Ashley of Ohio died from head injuries. Beyond the injured and lost lives, the other tragedy was that 6 crew members and the commanding officer were reprimanded for the incident. The seamount that the San Francisco struck did not appear on the chart in use at the time of the accident, but other charts available for use indicated an area of 'discolored water', an indication of the presence of a seamount. The Navy determined that information regarding the mount should have been transferred to the charts in use particularly given the relatively uncharted nature of the ocean area that was being transited and that the failure to do so represented a breach of proper procedures.
In June 2006 it was announced that San Francisco's bow section was to be replaced with that of the soon to be retired USS Honolulu. On 10 October 2008, the San Francisco returned to the water after successfully undocking at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. The dry-docking project involved cutting more than one million pounds off the forward ballast tanks and sonar sphere of the ex-Honolulu and attaching it to San Francisco. SSN-711 is now home-ported in San Diegeo, CA where it is expected to serve until 2017. 


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