USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) suffered a 45 minute fire that has caused an unknown amount of damage on the U.S. Navy’s Europe-based command ship, a service official told USNI News on Monday.
The fire occurred on July 31 while the ship was in dry dock Viktor Lenac Shipyard in Rijeka, Croatia at about 9:30 p.m. local time. The fire originated is a diesel generator space during testing, the official said.
No injuries were reported from either the ship’s company or the civilian workforce.
The cause of the rare fire, the extent of the damage and any delay to the delivery of the ship is unclear.
Mount Whitney — commissioned in 1971 — was been at the Croatian yard since January “undergoing a scheduled maintenance overhaul designed to extend the service life of the ship to 2039,” according to a statement from U.S. 6th Fleet.
The repairs included a dry dock availability that began shortly after the ship went into the yard.
As part of the Fiscal Year 2012 budget submission from the Navy, the service elected to cancel planned command ship replacement for Mount Whitney and sister ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) — the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship — in favor of a maintenance program that would extend the life of the ships to almost 70 years.
Blue Ridge underwent a similar availability in Japan in 2012.
The expected time in service for the two ships will only be second to that of wooden frigate USS Constitution, which was launched in 1797, and has been kept in service for largely ceremonial and educational purposes.
Safety standards during maintenance availabilities of U.S. Navy ships are traditionally high, with the rare exception of the 2013 arson onboard USS Miami (SSN-755) which led to the attack boat’s early retirement from service last year.