Gulf News

US Navy denies Iran claims over sub

Newport News ‘left on completion of trials and not after protest’

- BY HABIB TOUMI Bureau Chief

The US Navy yesterday denied claims that one of its nuclear submarines was forced to leave the Arabian Gulf after Iran protested that it had contaminat­ed the waters.

“The Los Angeles-class attack submarine Newport News left the Arabian Gulf after it successful­ly completed sea trials in February proving that the submarine was ready for the approximat­ely 9,000 mile transit back to its homeport,” Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, Commander of the US Fifth Fleet, yesterday told Gulf News.

“Safety is always of paramount concern to all profession­al mariners operating in and around the Gulf. That is why we conducted rigorous sea trials for Newport News in connection with her departure from the Gulf to ensure her return to homeport in the US would be safe and uneventful,” he said.

According to the Navy's top man in Bahrain, the Newport News left in early March. The fast-attack submarine has already been re- placed, he said. The Newport News received temporary repairs to its bow in Bahrain following a collision with a Japanese tanker on January 8 near the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian television said yesterday that while in Bahrain the Newport News had leaked chemical and radioactiv­e substances into the Arabian Gulf. "The incident has provoked Iranian officials who warned Bahrain of the environmen­tal consequenc­es of allowing the damaged submarine to remain in the Gulf," it said.

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