Chinese military ‘live-fire exercise’ in South China Sea in May
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Multiple sailors on board the USS Connecticut were injured following an incident in international waters, defence officials have revealed. In a statement, the US Pacific Fleet Public Affairs group said: “The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition.
“USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational.
“The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed.
“The US Navy has not requested assistance.
“The incident will be investigated.”
According to the Independent, 11 sailors sustained injuries as a result of the incident.
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Two sailors are said to have suffered “moderate injuries”.
The others developed bumps, bruising and cuts.
However, the statement issued by the US Pacific Fleet stressed “there are no life threatening injuries” and added the “safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority”.
The statement added: “The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of October 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.”
USS Connecticut was commissioned into service in 1998 at the cost of $6billion.
The 350foot long submarine, known as the ‘Arsenal of the Nation’, was operating around the waters of the South China Sea as America and its allies conducted their Carrier Strike Group 21 exercises in the region.
Ships from the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands were reported to have been involved in the drills.
The submarine’s collision in the South China Sea comes during a period in which Sino-American relations are continuing to deteriorate.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington have continued to rise since the departure of ex-President Donald Trump in January.
Last weekend, almost 40 Chinese military aircraft, including fighter jets and transport aircraft, reportedly entered Taiwan’s Air Defence Integration Zone.
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has responded to growing tensions by telling reporters: “We are very concerned by the PRC’s provocative military activity near Taiwan.
“As we said, the activity is destabilising.
“It risks miscalculation and it has the potential to undermine regional peace and stability.
“So, we strongly urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion directed at Taiwan.”
Taipei’s Defence Secretary has since warned Beijing could be ready to launch an invasion on Taiwan by 2025.
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