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First Underwater Circumnavigation of the World (USS TRITON)

The picture of a Cebuano fisherman onboard a small vessel looking down at a periscope sticking out in the water of Mactan was captured in the pages of National Geographic and other publication in the '60's. It was a single man on a paddle against the underwater steel man of war powered by twin nuclear reactors (the only one of its kind). The inside the submarines were the most disciplined technician and engineers who later were recruited to run most of the commercial nuclear plants in the United States. They were schooled and trained to perfection. I mean even half sleep the crew can perform their job. The USS Triton was on its epic making first underwater circumnavigation of the world. It was at the height of the cold war when nuclear propulsion was relatively unknown to the Soviet that made the expedition highly classified on the onset . US Navy was trying to prove that an underwater craft would be able to circumnavigate the world without anyone seeing. . Rufino Banting had compromised the journey where detection is the name of the submarine warfare. Instant replay of the tradition of Lapu-lapu. The 19 years old from Engano, Mactan had his fifteen minutes of fame when he was later tracked down for the story.

This is all trivia now but I am looking for Mr. Banting or someone who can interview him. He should be around his 60's by now. Anyone from Cebu or Mactan should be able to find his whereabouts.

I am not a nuclear engineer by any means but there were times when I spent six months of the year living inside a nuclear submarine. I provided some logistic support and my office was actually less than 10 feet from the nuclear reactor because thats where they found a void space for me. I carried a film badge that measured my maximum exposure that indicated less than what I get from watching TV. The gadget was later improved to measure the cumulated exposure which I think was better indication. At any rate the fear of nuclear energy and warhead might have deterred the Soviet for they were certainly behind during those times. Whatever debate about the safety of nuclear energy will continue but one thing that is sure, it is it not only the most efficient source but all the cheapest. You can also say the same on nuke warheads since you don't need a large military forces for the delivery system.


My active sonar is only pinging on Rufino Banting echoes right now so I can add a first hand report from anyone from the area who can ask him what he discovered that day.

For less than 100 feet below him was one of the proto type of early nuclear reactor.

---Nestor Palugod Enriquez
Submarine school...Nlon CT Nestor Palugod Enriquez