Most Expensive Ship Breaks Down in Panama Canal



On November 21, the most expensive destroyer ever built for the US navy suffered an engineering problem in the Panama Canal and had to be towed to port.

US Third Fleet spokesman commander Ryan Perry said a vice-admiral directed the USS Zumwalt to remain at ex-Naval Station Rodman in Panama to address the issues, which arose on Monday.

The 3rd Fleet in San Diego was able to provide only a few details late Monday evening, but early reports indicated the problems stemmed from an issue with heat exchangers in the ship’s integrated power plant, which provides electrical power to both the propulsion plant and sensors, weapons and ship’s services.  

The casualty occurred as the Zumwalt was passing through the lower half of the canal, and the ship was towed through the Miraflores locks at the southern, or Pacific end, to Rodman, a former U.S. base once known as the Balboa Naval Station.  The ship is en route to its homeport of San Diego.

The Zumwalt was commissioned October 15 in a ceremony at Baltimore, having left its builder’s yard at Bath, Maine, on September 7.  The ship’s crew has been dealing with a series of relatively minor incidents, including a seawater leak in a shaft lube oil system in September and, reportedly, several engineering issues while the ship was at Mayport Naval Station in Florida in late October.

The ship’s integrated power system is a new layout that uses advanced induction motors to produce up to 78 megawatts of electrical power, far more than any previous destroyer or cruiser.

Once at San Diego, the Zumwalt will enter an extended industrial period to complete the installation of its combat system — a job expected to continue through most of 2017.

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Source: Navy Times