Encl: (137) USNS HESS 1980 Survey Data in vicinity of grounding (S)
The USNS HESS was a T-AGS class ship tasked specifically for deep ocean hydrographic surveys. The kind of survey work these ships do would provide information that could have prevented the grounding if known. The USNS HESS (T-AGS-38) was fitted with a SASS 1 x 1 degree Multibeam Sonar system for this type of survey work.
USNS Hess T-AGS-38
(Source: NavSource.org - Carl R. Friberg Jr.)
The fact that this enclosure is in the list brings a few questions to my mind.
- What exactly is "in vicinity of grounding" mean?
- Did the area of the grounding get surveyed for a specific purpose and then that information not get transferred?
- If the USNS HESS survey data was not applicable why look at it?
The survey work done by the USNS HESS was in 1980, back then SSBNs still made patrols out of Guam. If the seamounts and escarpments "in the vicinity" were surveyed back in 1980 then 25 years is a long time for that data not to make it on operational submarines bottom contour charts.
Then again I could be wrong and they were just out fishing.
Update: 5/11/05 -11:50 Under the section "Chart Cautions and Accuracy" paragraphs 508 thru 511 reference encl:(137) but are remove to provide an unclassified document. What is interesting is the statement in paragraph 507:
NGU report that "None of the depicted track lines [on E2202] appear to have ensonified the feature in question." [encls (43), (232) ]
This statement precedes the USNS HESS hydrographic references in 508 -511.
I'm not trying to create a conspiracy here, just try to point out that hydrographic data comes from a variety of sources, some classified. If there was a failure here then perhaps there needs to be a review of methods used to incorporate clear hazards to navigation and submerged operations onto general navigation and bottom contour charts.