Thursday, June 05, 2014

Usual Silence Broken Very Early

The carrier HMS Illustrious: ... there has been another delay attributed to the reefer.

We had said at the time: If this were a submarine, it would be unlikely for the public to learn of a delay, or a true underlying reason. Only those in the CoC, those with direct knowledge or some with need to know would. - M.E., January 24, 2008.

Fast Forward to June 4, 2014 - Silence of Royal Navy Sub Broken
Cdr Ramsey retired from the Royal Navy in March after 25 years' service. He now choses to reveal the incident to highlight how "incredible" the secretive submarine service is:
May 26, 2011 - 3 hours off Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Temperature inside HMS Turbulent's living quarters and Control Room soared to more than 140F with 100 per cent humidity. Surface temperature on the  Indian Ocean was 108F.

The boat had surfaced and Cdr Ramsey was on the bridge when engineers told him the air conditioning plants had "catastrophically" failed. As he went below he was met by an “incredible blast of heat," and the first casualties soon began to be taken ill. Within hours many areas of the 275ft submarine had become makeshift sick bays, as 26 of the crew were taken casualty, he said. "We had casualties in the control room, the engine room, the bridge, the wardroom, cabins, and the toilets and showers. It was absolutely terrifying, and I'm not afraid to say I was scared.

...The heat meant the crew couldn't reach the problem areas because the equipment was too hot to touch.

You owe to yourself to read the entire news article here.

Since the event, Ramsey stated that the Royal Navy has incorporated the casualty problem into submarine crew training.

Sorry, journalists, retired naval officers do not risk their pensions to talk out of school about nuclear submarine casualties without permission of higher authority.  The higher reason for disclosure must be more about something else.  What might that something else be?   Just a guess:

  • Navy is 'running out' of sailors to man its nuclear fleet, MoD warns21 August 2012
  • Admiral Warns Royal Navy's Readiness Declining - 26 May 2014

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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At 08 June, 2014 03:40, Blogger Pete said...

Hi Vigilis

Just goes to show that submarines are not only silent and strange but downright dangerous to work in - even in peacetime.

As you indicate it could be that the UK Navy is finding a headline ultimately favorable to recruiting and readiness.

It could also be that some journalist got wind of the near fatal 2011 accident on HMS Turbulent or some British media outlet indicated it would release details that it had held for years concerning the incident. So the UK Navy effectively beat the outlets to the draw.



At 09 June, 2014 13:47, Blogger Vigilis said...

Hi Pete

Early disclosure could very well have been driven by journalistic pressures and the RN's natural insistence on making a decent presentation to the public from whom future recruits must be drawn.

Considering that future RN sub recruits will soon include women, the event is, in all likelihood, another turnoff from an ideal work-environment for most.


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