US Navy denies Iran claims over sub
Newport News ‘left on completion of trials and not after protest’
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.