Home » Budget Industry » Updated: Navy Sends 3 Mayport Ships to Sea Ahead of Hurricane Matthew


Updated: Navy Sends 3 Mayport Ships to Sea Ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) commences on June 23, 2016. US Navy Photo

Amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) commences on June 23, 2016. US Navy Photo

Three warships have scrambled from Naval Station Mayport, Fla. ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Matthew later this week, a service official told USNI News on Wednesday.

Guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG-68), Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8) left the base last Tuesday and the big deck amphib USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) was sortied this afternoon to ride the storm out at sea.

“The current track of the storm indicates sustained winds of 40-45 knots in the Mayport basin later this week,” said U.S. 4th Fleet commander Rear Adm. Sean Buck in a statement provided to USNI News.
“The decision to sortie was made early to allow sufficient time for the ships to prepare adequately and sail to safe waters.”

Six ships of the 15 homeported at the Florida base will remain in port through the storm.

The service is still assessing if it needs to send ships to sea from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. as the Category 4 storm is set marches north parallel to the East Coast.

NOAA Image

NOAA Image

The ship moves come as the Navy is preparing assets for a likely humanitarian aid and distance relief (HADR) mission in Haiti.

Yesterday Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook announced U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) was creating a HADR taskforce led by Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, the current deputy director of SOUTHCOM’s Deputy Director Joint Interagency Task Force South and that SOUTHCOM had repositioned nine helicopters in anticipation of orders to assist.

Yesterday, carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) left Norfolk and the amphibious warship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) is set to depart today ahead of likely tasking for relief operations.

The Navy is also preparing the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) to deploy for relief operations.

Hurricane Matthew is heading toward the Bahamas and officials in Haiti are still assessing the extent of the damage.

“Emergency teams in Haiti struggled Wednesday to reach hurricane-ravaged areas cut off by washed-out bridges and mudslides after Hurricane Matthew roared over the nation’s western tip and began a devastating island-hopping path that arcs toward the U.S. coast,” reported The Washington Post.
The country has yet to recover from the 2010 earthquake in which 200,000 died and thousands still live in temporary shelters – many in the path of the Matthew — six years later.

During the 2010 earthquake, the U.S. sent 17 ships and 10,000 sailors as part of the relief operations.

The following is the Oct. 5, 2016 statement from U.S. 4th Fleet.

Sortie Condition Alpha Set in Mayport, Ships Get Underway as Hurricane Matthew Approaches
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) — Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet

(COMUSNAVSO/C4F) ordered U.S. Navy ships in the Mayport area to set Sortie Condition Alpha or Bravo, Oct. 4 as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the Florida coast.

Since Monday, Hurricane Matthew has made landfall in Southern and Western Haiti as a Category IV Hurricane, with maximum sustained winds estimated in excess of 145 mph near the center of the storm. It is expected to travel parallel along the Florida coast as a Category III hurricane before turning northeast, with the storm passing by the Mayport basin late Friday.

Rear Adm. Sean Buck, COMUSNAVSO/C4F has directed three ships to sortie by this afternoon in response to Hurricane Matthew; the sortie is ordered to reduce the risk of significant damage to ships and piers during extreme weather conditions such as high winds and seas.

“The current track of the storm indicates sustained winds of 40-45 knots in the Mayport basin later this week,” said Buck. “The decision to sortie was made early to allow sufficient time for the ships to prepare adequately and sail to safe waters.”

Two of the three ships have already sortied from Mayport; USS Anzio (CG 68) and USS Montgomery (LCS 8). USS IWO JIMA (LHD 7) will sortie late this morning; all three will travel north and east to ride out the storm.

USS Zephyr (PC 8) and USS Shamal (PC 13) have moved to a safe berth in the basin; while USS Tornado (PC 14) and USS Farragut (DDG 99) will remain in dry-dock for maintenance availabilities.

USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS New York (LPD 21), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), and USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) will shelter in place in the Mayport basin and will take extra precautions to avoid damage, depending on the severity of the weather. These options include rigging additional mooring and storm lines, disconnecting shore power cables and/or lowering the anchor.

  • muzzleloader

    I hope they plan on having a fleet tug accompanying the LCS. lol

    • Curtis Conway

      Can you imagine riding a 300′ platform in a hurricane? I hope their engines hold up. Watertight integrity and compartmentalization is not up to Navy Standards on an LCS.

      • jerry

        Standards? Standards were thrown out the window when Obama took charge.

        • redgriffin

          Don’t worry Hurricane Matthew is all Obama’s fault anyway.

          • Donald Carey

            No – didn’t you read all the usual media reports? It is due to global warming, which is all Bush’s fault.

          • redgriffin

            That’s not what Fox News is saying.

          • Donald Carey

            Which completely backs up my point.

          • redgriffin

            Neither is Rush Limbaugh it’s all a leftist hoax to promote Global Warming.

          • Donald Carey

            Perhaps I should have put a sarcasm tag on my original post about it being Bush’s fault…

          • redgriffin

            Perhaps so but if I did that with my post it would defeat the irony of the statement.

          • Donald Carey

            What irony? Al Gore & Co.’s motivation is NOT concern for the planet Earth, it is all about money and power. Or don’t you get that?
            p.s. I do believe human activity has affected climate – irrigation, both of crops and lawns (a truly wasteful practice, as is having lawns in the first place), is the largest contributor – the fact Al & Co. do not talk about that is proof of their true motives.

          • redgriffin

            Well so is Donald Trump now tell us all something we don’t know.

          • Ned_Kelly_707

            Re-dircted (Saul Alynski-esque) comments like that bring to my mind that of a cartoon CHILD who was just caught with his hand in the cookie jar, pointing at his brother (OR SISTER; wouldn’t want to be labeled sexist now, would I) in defense of his own action. Such are, when there is no ammunition left…

          • old guy

            You MUST differentiate between Climate Change and Anthropogenic (man made) Climate Change. The former is reality. The latter is B.S.

          • Donald Carey

            Nothing is ever 100% – Human activity when there are over 7 Billion of them WILL have an effect though smaller than the huckster Al claims. Ironically enough, the Clean Air Act and similar measures in other countries reduced the amount of particulates in the upper atmosphere enough to cause a measurable temperature rise. You can’t win.

          • old guy

            I agree. I operated 3 orbiting geophysical observatories for 10 years (OGO, PolarOGO and EarthOGO). We could determine NO non-farming anthropogenic effects. We could, however detect C increases where large amounts of deforestation was taking place and significant decreases where farm crops were maturing. We also spotted and reported sulphur emission locations which were causing causing acid rain.

          • Ned_Kelly_707

            God Bless Mr. Limbaugh; he has been, since 1988, worth his weight in two fully loaded carrier battle-groups against the un-American scourge of pro-socalist progressivism.

        • Ned_Kelly_707

          Amen to that. Where to begin…

      • muzzleloader

        I would hope that all the sortied ships would maneuver around the storm system given all the sea space they have. Hopefully they all have full fuel bunkers to be able to do so. All joking aside, I do wish the LCS crew the best. I rode out a typhoon on a CVN and that was bad enough.

        • redgriffin

          The Storm is so narrow that jog left will put the eyewall over Central Florida to the right puts it about 20-25 off the Coast of Florida so if they travel outside of the Bahamas and they will be alright.

        • Curtis Conway

          Steamed through what was to become Hurricane David, and spent two weeks off of Iceland in weather that no ship should be in.

  • Ed L

    The other gator’s in port must be unable to get underway. Or there is no money for fuel. Does anyone remember a hurricane approaching the port and all able ships order to sortie. We once did it with only 2/3 of the crew. We had only gotten back from the Med 3 weeks earlier. We did pretty good for that week. The Command went on to develop a cross training plan for the entire crew which made for a very strong crew. We had people who normally did not stand underway watches. We end up with enough qualified people being able to Fill positions on the bridge, CIC, Engineering even if 50 percent of the crew was gone

    • Ned_Kelly_707

      Our military is suffering from the bad spending priorities of lap dog politicians and their lackey civilians who are in charge of it.

  • Ned_Kelly_707

    Compassion and Goodwill aside, just MORE American tax dollars down the drain.