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USS Connecticut crash due to errors that fell ‘below U.S. Navy standards’

The Navy has determined that last year’s grounding of the USS Connecticut on an underwater mountain was due to a series of preventable errors that failed to adhere to standard Navy procedures.

The Navy’s command investigation into the event was released Monday, more than five months after the Navy released the commanding officers of the Seawolf-class attack submarine due to a loss of confidence. The Navy was able to determine in November that Cmdr. Cameron Aljilani and other leaders on the sub failed to follow proper procedures that might have prevented the incident.

The 67-page command investigation report released this week goes into much great detail, and states simply that “This mishap was preventable.”

“It resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watchteam execution, and risk management that fell far below U.S. Navy standards,” it said. “Prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in any of these three areas could have prevented the grounding.”

Among other things, the report found that the submarine’s navigation team was not able to pinpoint 10 underwater hazards nearby where the sub was grounded, and “incorrectly assessed that the CONNECTICUT would be operating in an open ocean environment.”

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“They should have recognized the ship would be in restricted waters based on the planned track passing near multiple navigation hazards,” the report said. “Had they done so, a modified piloting party would have been stationed with additional watchstanders focused on navigation safety.”

It also said the command team’s failure to “hold personnel accountable for previous navigation errors led to low standards.”

The report recommended that Cmdr. Aljiani and other commanders be subject to non-judicial punishment for dereliction of duty.

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