A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine has hit an “object” while sinking in foreign waters in the Indo-Pacific region, wounding some of the crew members, the U.S. Navy said.
The Navy said none of the seafarers aboard the USS Connecticut suffered life-threatening injuries in a brief statement on Thursday.
“The submarine is in a safe and stable position,” the statement stated. “The USS Connecticut nuclear power plant and space were not affected and remain fully operational.”
The statement did not elaborate on what caused the ship to collide, the location of the incident or the number of seafarers injured.
U.S. authorities, speaking on anonymity, told Reuters news agency that the occurance took place in the South China Sea and that “less than 15 people” suffered minor injuries such as injuries and cuts. Two of the injuries were categorized as “moderate”, Reuters reports.
“The safety of the crew remains a top priority for the Navy,” the statement said, adding that the incident has been investigated.
The South China Sea is one of the most controversial and economically significant waterways in the world. China claims almost the entire territory under its controversial nine-lane line and has built artificial islands.
This week, Malaysia summoned the Chinese envoy after Chinese ships entered the Kuala Lumpur territorial waters off the coast of Borneo.
The United States has carried out what it calls “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea to assert navigation rights and freedoms according to international law.
Tensions in the region had only risen since 2016 when the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected China’s nine dashes and ruled that Beijing had no historical title over the South China Sea after the Philippines’ demands and actions in Beijing over the controversial waterways.