RIMPAC Participants Perform Sinking Exercise
Live fire from ships, submarines and aircraft participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2014 sank the decommissioned USS Tuscaloosa (LST 1187) at about 12:15 p.m., July 14, in waters 15,000 feet deep, 57 nautical miles northwest of Kauai.
Units from Brunei, Canada, Japan and the United States participated in the sinking exercise (SINKEX), which provided them the opportunity to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea.
“This was an opportunity for the participating nations to take advantage of the excellent training infrastructure and ranges that are available in the Hawaiian Islands,” said Deputy Commander of the RIMPAC Combined Task Force, Royal Australian navy Rear Adm. Simon Cullen. “It enabled individual units to conduct training that they could not otherwise have in their own waters and allowed them to improve their interoperability by working with their partner nations to achieve the training objective.”
Former Navy vessels used in SINKEXs are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Strict environmental compliance is observed during all SINKEXs. Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) and at least 50 nautical miles from land.
Surveys are conducted to ensure that humans and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.
USS Tuscaloosa (LST 1187) was a Newport-class tank landing ship commissioned in 1970, the second Navy ship named for the Alabama city. The ship deployed numerous times to the Western Pacific. Tuscaloosa earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for Operation New Life, when she escorted 26 Vietnamese navy vessels to the Philippines after Saigon fell in 1975. Tuscaloosa was decommissioned in 1994.