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What BUSHIPS Did After the USS SCORPION Was Lost On 22 May 1968

By Bruce Rule - August 25, 2013

While the SCORPION Court of inquiry was dismissing the results of metallurgical analyses of a recovered piece of the SCORPION main storage battery that confirmed an explosion had occurred before collapse and flooding of the pressure-hull, the Bureau of Ships took the following action relative to the battery issue.

At least BUSHIPS knew why SCORPION was lost. See the writer's letter of 10 April 2013 to OPNAV (N97) in the ARTICLES section of this website for additional information on the losses of SCORPION and THRESHER.

NAVSHIPS Technical Manual Chapter 9623 Submarine Storage Batteries, March 1969 Edition

9623.721 Safety Aspects of Battery Ventilation

6. Within the battery tanks of ships having open tank ventilation systems, even though the installation is designed to avoid the development of an inflammable concentration outside of the cells, there is sufficient probability of individual cell leaks to make it mandatory to avoid sparks or flames in the immediate vicinity of the cell tops.

Experience has shown that all individual cell explosions have occurred while personnel were working in the battery tank during charge. Hence instructions (art. 9623.718) now prohibit entrance of personnel into the battery tank of ships having open tank ventilation systems while the charge is in progress.

9623.718 Inspections During Charge

2. Do not enter the battery well of ships having open tank ventilation systems while a charge is in progress.

Should it become necessary to enter the well to make an inspection, secure the charge before entering. Continue full ventilation without interruption for at least 5 minutes after securing the charge before entering the well.

While personnel are in the well, ventilation should be maintained as required for battery condition. Resume full ventilation for at least 5 minutes before resuming the charge.