16 September 2005

Asia Pacific Submarine Conference

As Bubblehead pointed out in the aftermath of the AS-28 crisis, all submariners are brothers when it comes to fighting the sea, which is why we train together to aid a downed sub, no matter the nationality of the crew. From the Moscow Times (or Earlybird, if you are behind .mil firewalls):

Submarine rescue specialists said that well-cultivated working relationships made possible the international effort to save a Russian mini-sub and its seven-man crew last month.

Let’s hear it for Sorbet Royal! Now that the rescue is completed, one of the best practices of the Navy comes into play – stepping back and learning from what happened. And again, this was done with all, not just our allies.

50 rescue experts from 15 countries shared lessons from the early August mission to release a Russian mini-sub that had gotten caught in fishing net cables.

As we may or may not remember, the Brits got their first, and freed the sub. The US apparently had some logistical problems, although they were still pretty speedy, considering.

Commander Kent Van Horn, the head of the 30-person U.S. crew sent to help, said he was studying ways to cut down on the time his team spent unloading equipment from its transport plane so it could reach accident sites more quickly.

Van Horn recounted how his crew gave the British some equipment at the airport on Kamchatka when they realized the British team would be able to get to the mini-sub first.

"It wasn't a competition between us," Van Horn said. "All that comes from the regular interaction with each other."

Training together might breed some competition during practice, but it also makes everyone work well together when the s%!t hits the fan.

On the “good news” front, or “duuuuh” front, depending on how jaded you are:

Russian Captain First Rank Anatoly Suvalov said his nation needed to strengthen its relations with other countries for submarine rescues.

But he also gave witness to the value the already existing cooperation has brought:

He added that personal ties among the Russian, British and American teams helped save his compatriots aboard the Priz.

The Brits added that the submarine brotherhood, as I said, extends to all bubbleheads:

"One might imagine that before very long the [Submarine Escape and Rescue] working group is opened up to North Korea and Iran. They operate submarines. If one was to sink, we'd offer to help them."

The best summary for these kinds of multinational meetings, though, are those that show results.

Overall, participants praised the global cooperation that saved the lives of the seven men aboard the AS-28 vessel called the Priz.

And in the end, that is all that mattered.

SubPac story on the same conference.


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