The US nuclear submarine hits object in the South China Sea, sailors have been injured

USS Connecticut, -one Seawolf-class fast attack submarine, hit an unidentified underwater object in the South China Sea on Saturday. The U.S. Navy confirmed the incident Thursday, saying there were several injuries, none of them life-threatening.

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticuts nuclear power plants and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the rest of the submarine is assessed. The U.S. Navy has not asked for help. The incident will be investigated, “said the US Pacific Fleet in one announcement on Thursday.

The Navy did not indicate where the incident took place, but two defense officials told CNN Thursday it happened in the South China Sea, where a major naval exercise involving the United States, Britain, Japan, Australia and other allies is underway.

This photo taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members from China's South Sea Fleet participating in an exercise on the Xisha Islands or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.  Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea on the basis of a segmented line that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s, setting it against several neighbors.  / AFP / STR / China OUT / GOING WITH AFP STORY CHINA-POLITICS-MARITIME-DIPLOMACY BY BEN DOOLEY (Photo credit must read STR / AFP via Getty Images)

This photo, taken on May 5, 2016, shows crew members from China’s South Sea Fleet participating in an exercise on the Xisha Islands or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. (STR / AFP via Getty Images)

CNN also took note rising tensions between China and Taiwan as a factor in U.S. naval operations.

A naval officer told Tray Thursday that injuries from the incident were “shocks and scratches.” USNI News said, “about 11 sailors were injured in the incident with moderate to minor injuries.”

A defense official told USNI Connecticut set course for Guam on Thursday and was expected to arrive on Friday.

That Seawolf-class attacked submarine was designed in the late 1980s as a faster and better armed successor to the venerable The angels-class sub. Changing naval strategy after the end of the Cold War led the Navy to conclude that this submarine class was too expensive, so only three of them went into operation.

USS Connecticut was commissioned in 1998, while the last sub in the class, the USS Jimmy Carter, was commissioned in 2005. The nominal crew complement is 116, including 15 officers. They are rated for diving up to 610 meters depth. Their armament typically includes both weapons against the ship and surface attacks.

Submarine collisions with modern submarines are rare but not unheard of. The Japanese submarine for maritime self-defense force (MSDF) Soryu hit a cargo ship while appearing in February, allegedly due to negligence on the part of the sonar crew.

The last known underwater collision involving a US Navy sub occurred in 2005, by the USS San Francisco hit an underwater mountain while driving at flank speed. The collision threw some crew members 20 feet through the air, killing one and injuring almost all the others. That San Francisco surprisingly survived the impact with relatively minor damage and sailed to Guam for repairs under his own power, returns to service within three years and serves for another eight years thereafter.

The attack submarine USS San Francisco is escorted by two harbor bug boats when it returns to Apra Harbor, Guam, after a five-month deployment on June 4, 2004. (US Navy photo / Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Mark A. Leonesio / Released)

The attack submarine USS San Francisco is escorted by two harbor bug boats as it returns to Apra Harbor, Guam, after a five-month deployment on June 4, 2004. (US Navy photo / Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Mark A. Leonesio / Released)

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