Friday, May 25, 2012


USS Miami (SSN-755) had a bad fire while she was in dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The fire, which was reportedly in the boat's forward compartments, took several hours to extinguish.

The question now is whether the boat is beyond economical repair. Even if the damage is repairable, it may have been severe enough that the boat will be decommissioned and left in the yard until Congress specifically allocates funds for repairing the boat. The reason for that is when one is talking about a very large sum of money to fix a casualty, taking it out of existing funding will have a hard impact on the funding of repairs and upgrades to the rest of the force.

There is precedent for that. When the USS Belknap burned down to the damage control deck in 1975, she was moored in the Philadelphia Navy Yard until funds were allocated to repair her.

Belknap was, at the time of her fire, a newer ship than the Miami. However, the Fleet is a lot smaller than it was 37 years ago and the Navy isn't going to part with a valuable asset like a nuclear sub unless it absolutely has to.


Frank Van Haste said...

Ooh, this is going to be expensive (for reasons I don't have to explain to you, Miss Fit).

From the descriptions released so far, they'll probably have to gut the front end and replace a lot of the electronics. Re-pull a bunch of cables, too. What a mess.

Well, this'll keep PNS busy for the next 18 months or so.

Comrade Misfit said...

Cableway fires are among the nastiest of all. A DDG cableway fire cost a fortune to repair in the `80s.

Still, with a decent SLEP, Miami is only halfway through her lifespan. I'm betting that unless the damage is a lot worse than they are letting on, she'll be repaired.

Frank Van Haste said...

Dear Miss Fit:

If you can stand wading through the comments over at Bubblehead's place, the active rumors of the day are (a) caused by shipyard hot work (who'd'a thunk?) and (b) first word on inspection of damage: bad!

While I'm here, a question if I may. Re: Belknap you said 'down to the damage control deck'. 'Damage control deck' is a new one for me. Whazzat?



Comrade Misfit said...

Frank, the DC deck is, depending on who you listen to, the topmost steel deck on a warship with an aluminum superstructure, where the watertight hatches first begin, or the lowermost deck that overlays the engineering spaces. I'm using it in the first context.

I'll go over to his blog. Good suggestion, thanks.

E8GM said...

I thought the Belknap was run over by the Kennedy not burned.

Comrade Misfit said...

The Belknap did indeed collide with the Kennedy (she wasn't run over, unlike the USS Hobson or the USS Evans). If my memory is serving me well, the collision cut a pressurized aviation fuel riser on the Kennedy, which then dumped fuel into the engineering spaces, including the boilers' stacks, on the cruiser.

I don't recall if the fuel was jet fuel or avgas, probably made little difference. If you look at the photos of the ship after the collision, you'll see that she burned down to the hull. Rumor was that the gunners' mates didn't wait for orders to flood the magazines and that their actions saved the ship from blowing up. But I don't know if that was true.