Monday, September 22, 2008



Special Thanks to: Bud Shortridge U.S. Naval Fighting Ship History Hobbiest

Triumph in Submarine Rescue Operations

The U.S.S. Squalus SS-192 shortly after being launched on September 14, 1938

On May 23, 1939, the new attack sub marine U.S.S. Squalus SS-192 made a "fast dive" test off the Isle of Shoals (near Portsmouth, New Hampshire) and failed to surface. Two day later 33 of the 59-crew were rescued from her forward compartments. The rescue was effected through the use of an innovative diving bell; however 26 men were lost in the aft section of the submarine. This brought the total to 152 officers and men killed in the U.S. Navy's 37- year old submarine service.



The Squalus was laid down at the Portsmouth Navy Yard on October 18, 1937. She was one of five submarines of the Sargo class built over a two year period from 1938-1939. With an 11,000 mile range at 10 knots, these were long-legged submarines capable of extended patrols.
Their design further signified preparations for a war with Imperial Japan. The Squalus displaced 1,450 tons, was 302 feet in length, and had a beam of 27 feet. Her three diesel engines could drive her at 20 knots (5,500 shaft horsepower) on the surface and her electric power plant could produce up to 8 knots (2,700 shaft horsepower) submerged. The Sargo class was air conditioned and had sufficient battery power for 2 knots over a 48 hour period. The boat was armed with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes, a 3-inch/50 cal deck gun, and a portable machine guns for surface defense.

The Squalus was launched on September 14, 1938, and commissioned on March 1, 1939, under the command of Lt. Oliver E. Naquin, an Annapolis graduate and expert in submarine operations. During March, April, and into late May 1939, the new submarine went through a
series of tests and exercises to work out any builder deficiencies and acquaint the crew with its class.

She carried a crew of 5 officers and 51 enlisted men when she departed Portsmouth on
May 23, 1939, for a series of test dives that included fast or emergency procedures. She was also carrying two civilian Navy yard technicians and a company representative from the Winston
Diesel Company, the manufacture of the main propulsion plant.


On May 23 at 7:30 a.m., the Squalus left the Portsmouth Navy Yard for a series of test
dives that would include a "fast" descent procedure. The area selected for the exercises was just 5 miles off the Isle of Shoals and approximately 12 miles from the mainland.

The depth of the
water varied from 200 to 300 feet, and the sea bottom was described as blue mud. At 8:40 a.m., the submarine radioed the base that she would be diving for a period of one hour and would communicate again when surfaced. Two hours passed with no verification that the submarine had surfaced, so the base began radioing the submarine.

By 11:30 a.m. it was obvious that the Squalus was not responding to repeated contacts; consequently, sister ship U.S.S. Sculpin SS-191 was sent to investigate. Two hours later the Sculpin was at or near the last known position of the Squalus, and a lookout sighted a smoke bomb in the water. The Sculpin maneuvered to the source of the smoke and found a 4-foot-long, yellow painted cylinder which signified that a submarine was in difficulty and could not surface. "SQUALUS" was the name on the cylinder, which was attached by a line to the submarine below. The cylinder also contained a telephone that was linked to the sunken boat. Contact was made at once with Lt. Naquin who indicated that the main induction valve had been open, allowing water to flood both forward and aft engine rooms as well as the aft torpedo room. This was sufficient to sink the boat and she was on the bottom.

He suggested that the best way to save the crew and boat was to have divers close the
valve and attach air lines to the boat to provide sufficient buoyancy to surface. He advised against the crew escaping by using the "Momsen" breathing lungs due to the 240-ft. depth and the probably of "bends." Submarine crews received escape training using the lung, but at no more than a 120 ft. depth.

Lt. Naquin attempted to continue with his report, but the cable attached to the marker
buoy separated and communication was cut off. The Sculpin immediately anchored over the Squalus and radioed the base for assistance.

Aboard the Squalus 33 men were alive in the forward compartments; however, the 26
men who were in the aft compartments perished by the time the boat hit the bottom stern first. Luckily, five men from the aft part of the boat just made it into the control room as water rushed upward. Electrician's Mate Lloyd Maness dogged the hatch shut just in time to prevent the entire boat from being flooded. As the boat slid downward, the crew made attempts to surface by blowing the forward ballast tanks, but to no avail. The men released the forward marker buoy in the hope that a passing boat or aircraft would investigate. The 33 men, including the commanding officer, began to assess their situation. There was sufficient air for up to 72 hours, including that stored in flasks for emergencies.

Food consisted of emergency rations and various
canned items, and lighting came from individual flashlights and lamps. Aside from the fear of being confined in what probably would become their coffin, the cold was intense. The water temperature at 240 feet was 31degrees Fahrenheit, causing the interior of the forward compartment to reach 36 degrees. Blankets were available and the men sat close together, but the outlook was dismal. Periodically, the crew hammered morse code messages on the hull in the hope that someone somewhere would hear.

The U.S.S Falcon (ASR-2) an early submarine rescue ship, situates herself over the wreck site based on information and markers the submarine Sculpin provide.

At 9:45 p.m., the oscillograph (a sound detection system) aboard the Sculpin heard Lt Naquin's signal, "Conditions satisfactory, but cold." Ashore, the Navy summoned every diver available and ordered the rescue vessel U.S.S. Falcon (ASR-2) and the new light cruiser U.S.S. Brooklyn (CL-40) to the scene. By 5:30 a.m. on May 24, 1939, the Falcon was at the site as well as other smaller rescue ships. The Brooklyn arrived alter with 3,000 feet of air hose and was ordered t fulfill the unenviable role as a floating media base.

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NWS Chicago
Weather Currents Newsletter - Fall 2008


Hurricane Ike Base Map

NOAA Aids with Hurricane Ike Recovery
September 17, 2008

Responders from NOAA are on the move as residents and businesses in Texas and Louisiana recover from the effects of Hurricane Ike.

NRTs early morning survey in Port Fourchon, La..

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA's Navigational Response Teams are surveying areas critical to the flow of energy related commerce in the impacted region. Hydro surveys of the seafloor detect new obstructions from wreckage, shoaling, and other dangers to navigation. These surveys are being performed in partnership with U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA.

NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services is working to identify and repair lost or damaged navigational aids such as buoy and tide stations. Restoring these critical navigational tools is vital to operations of maritime commerce in the area.

While teams are working at or below the water level, aircraft are flying overhead taking thousands of aerial photographs to provide imagery of the physical damage to property and infrastructure as well as significant changes to the natural coastline. Photos will be posted online as they become available after each flight.

The National Weather Service Southern Region continues to provide extensive weather briefing support to local and state partners. This information is key to the various agencies involved in the recovery process. As remnants of Hurricane Ike track to the northeast, Weather Service specialists are providing potential river flooding forecasts and hydrologic support to potential areas.

NOAA HAZMAT teams are in place as part of a multi-agency response providing oil spill trajectories and data to protect environmental resources. In addition, NOAA's Fisheries Service is assessing the damage to the fishing industry and is currently working with state partners to evaluate the Texas and Louisiana fishing infrastructure.

2008-09-20 13:10:06 - Giant Wave Impact - China

Posted:2008-09-20 13:10:06 [UTC]

EDIS CODE: GW-20080920-18582-CHN
Date & Time: 2008-09-20 13:10:06 [UTC]
Area: China, Shanghai, , Shanghai


A migrant worker was crushed to death and 14 were injured after a thunderstorm hit part of Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, municipal flood authorities said. The storm hit the eastern Chinese city's Pudong and Nanhui districts from around 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with precipitation of up to132 mm, the Shanghai Municipal Flood Control Headquarters said. A strong wind accompanied the storm. A 47-year-old male migrant worker died after a two-storey workshop building at a steel factory in Heqing Town collapsed. Another person was injured. Elsewhere, nine persons were injured at two construction sites. Four others were injured when a 100-square-meter market building fell. The headquarters said all the injured had been sent to hospital for treatment and there was no danger to life. The "once-in-a century thunderstorm" also flooded some road sections and more than 60 households, it said.

Event exciting : Severe Weather
Number of deaths: 1 persons
Number of Injured persons: 14 persons
Damage level: Moderate (Level 2)


HOUSTON - W&T Offshore Inc. said late Thursday that two of its platforms and a processing facility for another sank as a result of Hurricane's Gustav and Ike.

The oil and gas company said that initial flyovers after Hurricane Ike revealed the sinkings of its Eugene Island 371 "B" platform and Eugene Island 397 "A" platform, along with the third-party-owned processing facility for its Ewing Banks 949 "Queen of Hearts."

W&T said it's evaluating its options for those facilities and has yet to determine the cost to repair or replace them, or a time frame for when that could happen. Additionally, several of non-operated platforms were lost, W&T said.

The net production volumes from the sunken operated and non-operated platforms totaled about 5 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day, the company said. Production volumes before the hurricanes totaled 308 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day.

W&T said it will have production estimates in seven to ten days after assessing its damage, functionality and delays.

W&T shares rose $3.14, or 10.4 percent, to $33.25 in early trading.

Houston, we have a problem Ships in waiting game outside channel

MORE than 100 vessels were yesterday waiting outside the Houston Ship Channel, which remained partially closed to ships in the wake of Hurricane Ike, the US Coast Guard said. The channel, which gives tankers access to refineries in Texas City, Baytown and Houston, had vessel traffic service, but navigation aids and shoaling were still being checked, a USCG spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, Hurricane Ike blew life into the tanker derivatives market as oil traders placed bets on the US needing increased gasoline shipments if refineries from the US Gulf were hit.

The International Maritime Human Element Bulletin, Issue 18

The PDF version of issue 18 of the Alert! Bulletin is now available

Autumnal equinox

The autumnal equinox occurs at 1544 UTC on Monday, September 22, 2008. This is commonly referred to as the moment when the sun is directly over the equator. More properly, since the earth revolves around the sun (at least that is what we are taught to believe), it is when the equatorial plane of the earth (extended to the center of the solar system) intersects the sun. Either way, it is the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Take note and celebrate! (9/22/08).