Newest Navy Ship Loses Propulsion And Limps Into Port

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$360 million Navy ship LCS Milwaukee towed to port after breaking down off Virginia.

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The U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship had to be towed into port last week after losing propulsion off the coast of Virginia.  The Milwaukee was on the way from the shipyard to her new homeport of San Diego when the trouble occurred.

The ship suffered an engineering casualty while transiting from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport, Florida, and ultimately its home port of San Diego.  The cause is being evaluated by ship’s crew and technical consultants.

Engine trouble was evident earlier in her voyage down the eastern seaboard, and reports suggested that metal fines contaminating both engine oil and gearbox oil were responsible for the failure. S enate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain called the incident “deeply alarming.”

The USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53) was sent to retrieve the vessel and tow it to the Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) at Little Creek-Fort Story, where they arrived at approximately 9 p.m. EST on Friday.  The vessel had to be towed more than 40 miles to port after it broke down on Friday.  This incident happened just less than a month after it was commissioned into service.

The USS Milwaukee is the third ship of the Freedom class, Lockheed Martin’s contribution for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program.  The Navy couldn’t choose between this design and the rival contender from General Dynamics, the Independence-class LCS and contracted a dozen of each class.  Three of each has been commissioned so far.

Source: CNN