Watch: Massive Nuclear Submarine Dry Dock

Uss San Francisco Submarine
Photo of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN-711) pulling into the floating dry dock Arco (ARDM-5) at Naval Base Point Loma. Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom

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On 8 January 2005, the nuclear submarine USS San Francisco collided with an undersea mountain about 364 nautical miles, southeast of Guam while operating at flank speed at a depth of 525 feet.The collision was so serious that the vessel was almost lost and crew accounts detail a desperate struggle for positive buoyancy to surface after the forward ballast tanks ruptured. Ninety-eight crewmen were injured, and Machinist’s Mate Second Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died on 9 January from head injuries.

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In 2006 the Navy announced that San Francisco’s bow section would be replaced with that of the soon-to-be-retired USS Honolulu (SSN-718). Those repairs were completed on 10 October 2008 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The dry-docking project involved cutting more than one million pounds of forward ballast tanks and sonar sphere off the former USS Honolulu and attaching them to San Francisco. After the completion of repairs and sea trials in April 2009, San Francisco shifted homeport to Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, California.

 

This month marks the 6th anniversary of the submarine’s massive repair and, with this anniversary date, the boat is due for a full inspection and scheduled maintenance. The following time-lapse video shows the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN-711) pulling into the floating dry dock Arco (ARDM-5) at Naval Base Point Loma, in San Diego.