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In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS Hartford is moored off the U.S, Naval Academy in 1999 in Annapolis, Maryland. According to reports from U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, two U.S. Navy ships, USS Hartford and USS New Orleans, collided on March 20, 2009 in the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian peninsula. One of the vessels, the USS Hartford a submarine, was nuclear-powered.
Sailors on the USS Hartford that collided with a Navy ship in March were sleeping and spent too much time away from their stations, according to a report that was recently released.
The Day of New London obtained what they said is a “heavily redacted copy of the previously top secret investigation,” that says the USS Orleans, the ship that the USS Hartford apparently hit, "bears no fault."
The report paints a disturbing picture of what was happening at the helm and blames the USS Hartford's "ineffective and negligent command leadership."
The crash happened on March 19 in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passage between Iran and the Arabian through which as many as 17 million barrels of the world’s oil pass each day.
The USS Hartford, a nuclear-powered submarine based out of Groton, and the USS New Orleans, an amphibious ship based out of San Diego collided, sending thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into the ocean.
"This was an avoidable mishap," Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, wrote in endorsing the Judge Advocate General Manual investigation, the Day reports. "Correction of any one of nearly 30 tactical and watchstander errors, or adherence to standard procedures, could have prevented this collision."
The report also says the brass did nothing to punish five known “sleepers,” who were known to nod off on their watch. Two of them were on duty when the crash happened.
Various other tactical errors were also mentioned in the report. The commanding officer left the control room as the ship crossed the strait, a sonar supervisor left his station often and the navigator taking an exam and listening to an iPod, the report says.