Sunday, August 31, 2003


My heart goes out to anyone who has loved or befriended a sailor who has been lost at sea. Even more so when it's a submariner lost at sea.

I have experience from years ago, but I think my comments are valid today. The loss of life was the result of inattention to procedural detail during normal evolutions which produced a series of uncontrolled perturbations. Mumbo-jumbo, but true.

But realistically, it wasn't the pontoon rig they had attached to the hull, nor was it the weather that caused a crew to lose their lives. It also wasn't because somebody left a hatch wide open, nor was it because the people responsible were inadequately trained.

No, it is because the Russian nuclear navy is an afterthought. To maintain a nuclear submarine fleet is a major national commitment. Since Ronald Reagan forced the Asian continent to restructure its priorities down to the level of divvying up the now defunct Soviet navy, the dedicated sailors of a once proud Atlantic Fleet are decimated. What remains are rarely regularly paid.

So, somebody, please tell me why else would a 9000 ton vessel with only a slightly positive buoyancy and a 100 megawatt end-of-life nuclear reactor core have a crew of only ten, only ten sailors while on the surface in foul weather?

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