USS Port Royal

Saw the news article below just now. Port Royal is the newest of the Ticonderoga class of cruiser. Reading the article it sound like it will not be a career-enhancing event for the captain.

Navy takes off fuel, water, people to lighten ship
From Associated Press
February 08, 2009 12:19 AM EST

HONOLULU - The Navy offloaded fuel, water and personnel from a grounded, $1 billion guided missile cruiser so tugboats and a salvage ship can try again early Sunday morning to free it from a rock and sand shoal.

The USS Port Royal ran aground on Thursday evening, about a half-mile (one kilometer) south of the Honolulu airport where it was visible from several vantage points on Oahu.

No one was injured and no oil or other contaminants have leaked, said representatives of the Navy and Coast Guard, as well as state officials.

At a press conference, Rear Admiral Joseph Walsh, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the ship is structurally sound. But he added that a thick, underwater rubber encasement that surrounds sonar equipment at the bow has taken on seawater.

A barge received fuel and fresh water from the Port Royal on Saturday, which Walsh said should make the grounded vessel approximately 200 tons lighter. The 9,600-ton warship will also be an additional 15 tons lighter because half the crew of 360 is on shore.

Another reason for moving half the crew was that the ship's air conditioning was not functioning because the vent through which seawater is drawn to cool the system is blocked as the ship sits on the shoal, Walsh said.

A lighter Port Royal, combined with a peak high tide and the pulling power of an oceangoing tug, some smaller harbor tugs and the salvage ship Salvor, should do the trick when a third effort is made to free the ship around 3:25 a.m. on Sunday, Walsh said.

"The issue becomes one of how much weight is on the ship versus our ability to pull that weight off of the reef," Walsh said.

Two previous efforts on Friday and Saturday mornings using harbor tugs that tried to pull the ship backward and away from the shoal were unsuccessful.

The 15-year-old Port Royal had just ended a four-month routine maintenance visit to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and was finishing the first day of sea trials when it ran aground at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

"The ship was maneuvering to off-load some of the sailors and some of the contractors and shipyard personnel, and she was in her normal spot for doing those types of small-boat transfers," Walsh said.

He added later that the shoal was known to the Navy. "Clearly, the ship is not where the ship should have been. The investigation will determine exactly why the ship got to the point where she was in shoal water," Walsh said.

The Port Royal is sitting in about 22 feet of water, aground along the length of her port side on a bed of sand and rock of the type that was used to construct one of the nearby airport's runways, Walsh said.
USS Decatur(DD-5) ran aground at Batangas with Ens. Chester W. Nimitz (USNA'05) commanding in 1908. Nimitz was court-martialed, convicted of "Hazarding a Navy ship" and received a letter of reprimand.

But yeah, career ender today
Looks like that captain is going to be sailing a desk if he stays in... or sent off as part of a naval exchange program.


It did not come off on the third try. They are waiting for the next high tide. Somehow I suspect the Captain will be receiving orders to SURFPAC shortly after they get back into Pearl Harbor. Shame too because Port Royal, as a newer CG, would have been AW for her Battle Group. Means that the Captain had a shot at making Flag rank. Somebody else gets lucky. Also, with the sonar dome flooded, its not going to be a cheap repair.

Washington Post
February 9, 2009
Pg. 6

Latest Try To Free Warship Fails

HONOLULU -- A third attempt has failed to free the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal, which ran aground Thursday off the coast of Hawaii, the Navy said. Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, the Pacific Fleet's deputy commander, says the Navy will try again Monday, at the next high tide.
I don't think any of us will be surprised at this news article:

Captain of ship stuck off Hawaii relieved of duty

By AUDREY McAVOY (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
February 09, 2009 11:32 PM EST

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The commanding officer of a $1 billion warship that ran aground along the coast of Honolulu has been relieved of duty, the Navy said Monday.

The move came hours after Navy freed the guided missile cruiser, which had been stuck for more than three days.

Rear Adm. Dixon R. Smith, commander of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, relieved Capt. John Carroll of his duties pending the results of an investigation into Thursday's grounding.

Carroll had taken command of the USS Port Royal in October. Its temporary commanding officer will be Capt. John T. Lauer III, who is currently assigned to the staff of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

The ship - one of the Navy's most advanced - ran aground when it was offloading sailors, contractors and shipyard personnel late Thursday. Efforts to refloat the vessel over the weekend were unsuccessful.

The Port Royal was extracted from a rock and sand shoal about 2 a.m. Monday after about 500 tons of seawater and 100 tons of anchors and other equipment were moved off the boat, the Navy said. The wreck site would be examined to determine if there was a fuel leak or spill.

The cruiser was structurally sound, but an eight-inch (20-centimeter) thick rubber sonar dome was cracked. Blade tips on the vessel's two propellers were sheared off.

The ship was being towed to Naval Station Pearl Harbor for inspection. The Navy has not discussed what may have caused the grounding.

The vessel had just finished its first day of sea trials after wrapping up a four-month routine maintenance stay at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. The 15-year-old Port Royal usually has about 24 officers and 340 enlisted sailors on board.

The Port Royal is capable of firing interceptors into space to shoot down missiles. It's also equipped with Aegis ballistic missile tracking technology.

Earlier reports said Smith, the Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific commander, was on board the ship at the time of the grounding. He wasn't, and had boarded the vessel on Friday to be the on-scene commander of the recovery mission.

Reading his bio at the ships website I realized that he was born and raised in the next town to me. He had a very good career until a few days ago.

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