According to a media report on Saturday, The Chinese military is still in the dark over what damaged the US nuclear submarine when it was on the prowl in the disputed South China Sea early this month, while satellite photos of the moored vessel showed that the sub may have had a head-on collision, rendering it “deaf and blind”,.
The incident four weeks ago may have occurred in waters near the disputed Paracel Islands in the SCS controlled by China, indicating the Chinese Navy could have detected the American sub on its way to Guam but was not aware of its damaged condition, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Tong said ,“It’s almost certain that the USS Connecticut was hit in a head-on collision that cracked its sonar dome, the most important sensor system, meaning the sub became effectively blind and deaf underwater and had to escape immediately,”.
Beijing is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. It has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.
Wong further said that information suggested that the collusion of the US submarine could have happened close to the exclusive economic zone claimed by China around the disputed islands, even if the US did not recognise such a zone when conducting freedom of navigation operations in what it says are international waters.
The resource-rich South China Sea is the world’s busiest waterway for military and commercial vessels. Beijing is building a massive underwater observation network, dubbed the “underwater Great Wall”, for maritime science and national security applications.
The damage could have been caused by something the size of an underwater drone, rather than another submarine, the expert said.“This accident reminded the People’s Liberation Army Navy to further beef up China’s underwater surveillance capability, as well as its defensive strength in the region,” Li added.