Fire on USS Mount Whitney Will Extend Yard Stay By At Least 8 Weeks, Cost Unclear

August 11, 2015 2:57 PM
USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) in dry dock at the Viktor Lenac Shiyard in 2011. Photo via Wikipedia
USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) in dry dock at the Viktor Lenac Shiyard in 2011. Photo via Wikipedia

A 45 minute fire onboard the U.S. 6th Fleet command ship in late July will extend its stay in a Croatian shipyard by at least additional eight weeks, Navy officials told USNI News on Tuesday.

Costs for the additional repairs resulting from the July 31 fire that began in a diesel generator space onboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) are still unclear, 6th Fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Pamela Rawe said.

The fire resulted in no injures.

The Navy has completed its initial fact finding for the ongoing investigation into the cause of the fire that occurred during a planned maintenance availability at the Viktor Lenac Shipyard in Rijeka, Croatia and was

Mount Whitney had arrived that the yard in January and was nearing completion of a planned maintenance availability that would have extended the life of the 1970s era command ship into 2039.

Sister ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) — the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship — had undergone a similar availability in Japan in 2012.

The planned 70-year lifespan for the ships — decided by the service as part of its Fiscal Year 2012 budget submission — will only be second only wooden frigate USS Constitution, which was launched in 1797 and kept in the fleet for ceremonial purposes.

Although they occur, lengthy fires onboard U.S. ships undergoing repairs are rare.

In March, a three hour fire broke out on amphibious warship USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44) during a maintenance availability in Portsmouth, Va.

In 2013 an arson onboard USS Miami (SSN-755) led to the attack boat’s early retirement from service last year.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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