Home » Budget Industry » USS Antietam Likely Headed to Dry Dock for Repairs, 1,100 Gallons of Hydraulic Oil Still Missing


USS Antietam Likely Headed to Dry Dock for Repairs, 1,100 Gallons of Hydraulic Oil Still Missing

USS Antietam (CG-54) in the South China Sea on March 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

USS Antietam (CG-54) in the South China Sea on March 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

As the Navy continues to tally up the damage to a U.S. cruiser that ran aground Tuesday in Tokyo Bay, early damage reports indicate USS Antietam (CG-54) will likely undergo an extensive dry dock period to repair the ship, USNI News understands.

The Navy and Japanese authorities are also still searching for signs of the 1,100 gallons of hydraulic oil that leaked after the ship grounded, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman told USNI News on Wednesday evening.

Antietam was moved pier side to the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan by tugs following the grounding and now divers are cataloging the damage to the ship with some early results.

“The ship has two reversible controllable pitch propellers and right now the estimates that have been provided so far indicate the propellers are heavily damaged to a point where they are not functional,” a Navy official told USNI News on Wednesday.

Divers have also discovered at least one of the two propeller hubs was damaged in the grounding. Controllable pitch propellers are highly complex hydraulic systems that allow a ship’s commander to position the propeller blades to change the speed and direction of a ship without changing the rotation of the ship’s shafts.

The variable pitch of the propellers increases the maneuverability of the 10,000-ton cruiser and allows the ship to come to a full stop from flank speed in only two ship lengths, according to Knight’s Modern Seamanship.

Damage to the hub would likely result in leaking hydraulic fluid from the system and require an extensive repair period in drydock.

There is no indication if there is additional damage to the ship’s hull or propulsion system following the grounding.

The controllable pitch propellors of USS Cowpens (CG-63) at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s dry dock six n 2010. US Navy Photo

The controllable pitch propellers of Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Cowpens (CG-63) at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s dry dock six in 2010. US Navy Photo

The service has begun an investigation into circumstances that led to the grounding of the cruiser. A report in Navy Times said Antietam was at anchor in the bay when high winds and a strong tide pushed the ship aground before the crew could maneuver the ship to safety. The service has been reluctant to elaborate on details leading to the grounding.

The investigation will likely take a month or more.

The last major grounding of a Ticonderoga-class cruiser was USS Port Royal (CG-73) off of Hawaii in 2009. The repairs cost more than $40 million in then-year dollars – though the damage was much more extensive than the early reports from Antietam.

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Categories: Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • William Ludzus

    We should build up the ground from the bottom of the sea to protect America from other Country’s attacking us with boats or sub’s..

  • Bill Morgan

    I blame this on the unprecedented use of fossil fuels and global warming.

    • I blame your blame on your lack of brain cells. Hydraulic oils are used in a captive system and unless there is damage do not leak. There is NO combustion involved, no oxygen involved, and apparently no critical thinking on your part involved. How do you connect the leaked hydraulic oil with global warming. Don’t get splinters when you hug a tree and do not gag on your Ben and Jerry’s. Another MMCS(SW), US Navy Ret.

      • dsharil

        Another 100% correct; almost like the hydraulic oil in your brake lines.

      • The Drill SGT

        I thought he was making a joke

        • TalosGuy

          I believe so.

        • ernestoz

          Yah think?

      • FederalFarmer

        I think you might want to check on the word satire before saying more.

      • Bill Morgan

        uhhhhh I was uhhhhh joking……………

    • 4902950E9

      Are you smoking some of that stuff that’s legal in Colorado?

      • FederalFarmer

        It sounds like satire to me.

  • Thomas Geiger

    Why one whole month to figure this out? It seems like it should take about 2 days.

    • Horn

      Sounds about right for an accident review. The Navy is still wary of quick reviews due to the public’s past view towards them. Doesn’t matter much though, because the ship won’t be going anywhere for a while. Not if a prop hub is damaged. Would have been another thing if it was just the CPPs.

    • Wardog00

      The less you know about something the easier it is.

    • honcho13

      You would think, but… Putting a ship in drydock is not as easy as it sounds. Maybe the drydock was in use for another purpose or was flooded. Then, the blocks that the ship rests-on have to be arranged and aligned for that particular class of ship – and that is time intensive. And when the ship is finally in the drydock, hotel services need to be hooked-up, the drydock drained, and FINALLY SRF/NAVSEA can start a thorough investigation into the extent of the damage. Then reports have to be made, a repair program (“game plan”) initiated, cost analysis, yaddy yaddy ya, on and on. A Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser is a complex piece of machinery and if you are going HAVE TO spend a boat-load of money on repairs, you’d better get it right the first time! Nothing in today’s Navy is EVER as simple or as easy as it sounds! Hope this helps! Have a great Navy day! MMCS(SW), U. S. Navy (ret)

      • USNVO

        Beyond that, just the administrative burden to write up the report in the correct format will take a few weeks. You may know what happened inside a day or two, “Ship drug anchor and was blown into shoal water. The screws contacted the bottom” but getting all the statements, interviewing all the witnesses, reviewing all the logs, etc, and then getting it into the correct format is a huge task, ignoring everything else that has to go into docking the ship and estimating the damage.

        • honcho13

          I know what you mean. I was the EOOW on the USS Lockwood in 1986 when we were “holed” by a Japanese freighter in the sea lanes just outside of Yokosuka. We had to go into drydock for 6 months. Initially, I thought the “paperwork nightmare” that was initially involved would never end. And that was on top of all of the material aspects of drydocking and the aftermath of the collision. One other thing that is time intensive, that I forgot to mention: the crew (other than the duty section) can’t live aboard the ship while in drydock, so personnel issues, chow, duty sections, barracks ship, watches, etc. all have to be brought into the equation. It certainly wasn’t the type of “shore duty” that I would wish on anyone! MMCS(SW), U.S. Navy (ret)

          • USNVO

            I had the pleasure? of doing an Admiralty Report on an allision incident at Pearl Harbor where a work boat tried to push a YON through the dive locker wall. It took me a couple of weeks and all I had to do was interview a handful of people, draw some diagrams, take a few pictures of the scratched paint on the YON and the hole in the concrete block wall of the dive locker, and get an estimate for a couple of masons to fix the damage. Sure, I pretty much knew what had happened and what the damage was after an hour or so, but getting everything formatted and all the Ts crossed and I’s dotted for the JAG Review took a lot longer. This will be a whole order of magnitude more complicated,

      • dsharil

        You too; great post.

      • Fogg Kevin

        Senior, ever serve on a Tico-class?

        • honcho13

          Naw, I was too far along in my Navy career to ever have seen anything newer than USS Lockwood (FF-1064). Plus, the powers-that-be in D.C. weren’t gonna let an ol’ hole snipe MM anywhere near a new Gas Turbine-driven ship. BTW: I served on USS Joseph K Taussig (DE-1030), USS Joseph P Kennedy (DD-850), USS Hamner (DD-718), USS Midway (CV-41), USS Coral Sea (CV-43 & USS Ranger (CV-61) – ALL black oil-burning fossils! But they were ALL great ships!

  • RobM1981

    I hope the crew likes Japan, because they’re going to be there for awhile.

    • honcho13

      The Antietam is homeported in Yokosuka! What don’t you understand? Duh!

      • Mike Daniel

        Well, Yokosuka is in Japan. What’s the problem?

    • Mike Daniel

      There’s airplanes. They can fly home.

  • Wardog00

    Arguably not enough anchor chain was used to hold the ship in place in case of high winds and current. If the ship was pushed beyond the swing circle into shallow water this would be a possible cause.
    A ship at anchor keeps an OOD and a quartermaster on the bridge to continually mark its position. The investigative questions should include why it took too long for the crew to respond to the movement and use the engines to keep it in place.

    • Fogg Kevin

      I am a knuckle-dragging Gunner…I was about to argue against the claims she was on anchor. This was because I read that it brought in under tugs.

      Then I re-read the article looking for where it stated she was on anchor. Nothing says she was anchored, but she was brought in under tug power after the damage.

      Can you cite where I can read that she was anchored?

      I am assuming CO, XO, OOD, and probably the OPS are all fired already?

      • USNVO

        3rd paragraph from the end.

        “A report in Navy Times said Antietam was at anchor in the bay when high winds and a strong tide pushed the ship aground before the crew could maneuver the ship to safety”

        • Mike

          A report a couple of days ago said they were in the process of anchoring when this occurred.

          • USNVO

            I agree but the reported damage more closely matches the idea of a dragging anchor. If the ship had run aground going to anchor, you would expect damage to the sonar dome as it is deeper than the screws and would have passed over the shoal first. If the ship drug the anchor, the first thing to contact the shoal would be the screws and, at least from the reports, that was where the damage was localized.

        • Michael Timothy Otto

          USNVO understand that Fogg Kevin already admitted he is a Gunner. So unless Dr Suess wrote the article… he is going to miss some key points. Thank you for looking out and clarifying.

  • Eric Udell

    Blame Obama… Have to beat the Trumpster to the Punchster..

  • CAPT Caltrop

    You can put out short chain, if you’re ready to manuever at a moments notice with those fancy propellers. One question I have is, who picked that location and who accepted that location? Did the inability to question a Japanese decision/suggestion come into play?

  • honcho13

    When you do this kind of damage to both of the screws the chances that you haven’t done some collateral damage to the stern tube, spring bearings, reduction gears, etc. is probably pretty remote. I would imagine the SRF/NAVSEA folks are going to find more “internal” damage the deeper they dig. One thing though – as one who spent almost 10 years stationed in Yoko – if you HAVE TO go into drydock for repairs, Yoko is probably THE best place in the world. The JN yardbirds really know their stuff and will get the Antietam back to sea in the shortest possible time! MMCS(SW), U. S. Navy (ret)

    • dsharil

      You are 100% correct. Been there.

    • GBuster

      The ship will be back. Cant say the same for the CO, XO, and possibly the navigation officer.

  • Deplorable Krakuh√

    Gottam Russian hackers!!!!

  • draeger24

    Sam, just a point. Saying that 1,100 gallons of hydraulic oil “still missing” somewhat implies “it will be found”….I believe that is, in essence, wishful thinking. ….#imjussayin’

  • MJSTACK

    JUNK..STUPID.. not thinking.. Who’s administration was this thing built? Stuff like this should never happen. I bet the Captain is doing some re-thinking about a new job. I thought training was supposed to prevent this kinda thing from happening??? Better call Maco

  • Jim The Last

    OK, the ship was anchored out when she was driven aground. My first visit to Yoko was in 1961. My question is, why were there so many small boys in port at the same time that she wasn’t tied to a pier? Do we have that big a surplus of ships in Japan? Just doesn’t make sense.

    • honcho13

      I don’t know ANY of this for sure, but… We don’t know (unless I missed something in the article) whether Antietam was transiting in OR out of port??? The report in Navy Times said there were “high winds”. This leads me to believe that she “anchored out” until the winds subsided, PRIOR to entering port. This is probably due to the fact that these CG’s have a large freeboard area and the skipper had most likely called for a tug. I don’t know exactly where she was anchored, but whether a ship is transiting in or out of Yokosuka, it’s ALWAYS tough going. This is mainly due to a never-ending stream of civilian shipping going in and out of Tokyo and any ship trying to enter Yokosuka has to run the gaunlet and “cross over” the constant stream of out going ships. It’s tricky at best and dangerous in the extreme! This is just a guess as to the Captain’s decision. Hope it helps! MMCS(SW), USS Navy (ret)

  • Sounds like she drug her anchor. It always pays to have another anchor ready to drop. Anyone reading this over at the Flight III Destroyer program? BTW what’s up with SPY-6? Where are SPY-4 & 5? Maybe it’s like Seal Team Six – we’re hoping that the enemy will waste his time looking for them.

    • USNVO

      SPY-4 is the S band Volume Search Radar that was supposed to go on DDG-1000. It is currently only planned for the FORD and may be removed at a later date. SPY-5 was/is an X band phased array radar from Raytheon. I don’t think they sold any and it may not even be an active program. Spy-2 was an active upgrade to the SPY-1 that was eventually developed into the SPY-4. So, SPY-6 it is, even though it seems out of sequence.

      • Thanks for that info. Now, does anyone know where we can stow a second anchor on the Flight III’s?

        • USNVO

          All the pictures of ship models of the Flight III I have seen show a bow anchor and port side anchor just like on all the other DDG-51s, have you seen something different?

          • There was a plan from Bath – one anchor is removed to allow space and weight for the new combat system. Maybe sanity has taken hold since.

          • USNVO

            Or they just used old DDG51 fly 2A hulls to save money on their models. All else being equal, two anchors are always better than one, I will have to keep an eye out for something definitive.

  • 4902950E9

    Well, the Captain can kiss his career goodbye.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Lesson Learned: variable pitch props great for high speed stops, not so much for slow speed (anchor dragging, hard aground) stops.

  • Joe

    Should of used the hydrodynamic port turbo drives with the starboard attachments in the ship to compensate for the echo chamber loss in the manifold. Geez don’t these guys know anything!

  • john smith

    Blame Trump.Have a riot.

  • albertdaniel

    Wow, work on the vessel at Todd Shipyard Los Angeles, someone will be reprimand, Go USA !!!!!!

  • mail33006

    The CO’s only chance is to announce he is a transgendered Muslim….then, MAYBE…..

  • Mike

    And one Navy Captain will be out of a job soon

  • Secundius

    I guess the ONLY way the “Skipper” of the ANTIETAM is going to See Stars is Through a “Telescope”…

  • Donald Carey

    !,100 gallons of hydraulic oil released into the bay can’t be spotted? Wow – the water quality there must be really bad!

    • Secundius

      I believe that Type 2075-TH or MIL-PRF-17672 Hydraulic Fluid is used by the US Navy. Which is Mineral-Oil based and Bio-Degradable. So there might not be ANY to be found, especially if the Surface Temperature of the Surround Sea Water was above 60F…

      • Donald Carey

        Yes, a body of water chronically polluted with hydrocarbons will have sufficient bacteria of the right type to digest such a spill, but it usually takes a few days. The initial spill should have been visible.

        • Secundius

          The Type of Hydraulic Fluid used “2075-TH” is “Food Grade”, which can be Safely Ingested by Humans without the Concern of DEATH. At worst, an Upset Stomach! I’ve been Strayed by Hydraulic Fluid in the Army through Either Carelessness or the Fracturing of Hydraulic Lines Under Pressure without Harmful Effects. Introduction of Fluid was in 1946, but First Commercial Use wasn’t until 1952. I’m just surprised that it ISN’T used in the Auto Industry or Aviation Industry, where Accidents are More Common…

          • Donald Carey

            The spill still should have been visible if it was an oil.

          • Secundius

            “Oil” is Mineral Oil (aka Castor Oil), NOT Petroleum Based…

          • Donald Carey

            News Flash!! Mineral Oil IS petroleum based (hence the word Mineral in it’s name). In any event, as any cook would tell you, vegetable oil, like Olive or Caster Oil, would behave the same as a petroleum-based oil spilled into water – it would form an oil slick.

          • Secundius

            I stand Corrected, Thank You…

  • Ed L

    I was reading an article about US Navy groundings and it 1923 seven destroyers ran aground it is now refer to as the Honda Point Disaster.