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USS Little Rock Stuck in Montreal, Ship Might Not Leave Until Spring

The crew of USS Little Rock (LCS-9) man the rails during the ship’s commissioning ceremony Dec. 16, 2017 in Buffalo, N.Y. US Navy Photo

USS Little Rock (LCS-9), the latest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship to join the fleet, is iced in on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Montreal and doesn’t plan to move until the Spring thaw.

“Significant weather conditions prevented the ship from departing Montreal earlier this month and icy conditions continue to intensify,” a Navy spokesperson told USNI News.
“The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January timeframe.”

A sustained blast of Arctic air that extended from late December into January caused ice to form faster than normal within in the Seaway, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., the agency established by the Canadian government to manage the Seaway. The Seaway closed for the season on January 11. Typically, the Seaway is open between March and December.

Little Rock was commissioned on Dec. 16 in Buffalo, next to the decommissioned USS Little Rock (CG-4), the World War II-era Cleveland-class light cruiser that was converted to a guided-missile platform. The region received significant snow accumulation during the week leading up the ceremony, and crew members had to clear several inches of snow off the ship before the ceremony.

After the ceremony, Little Rock was to depart Buffalo, transit the Seaway to reach the Atlantic Ocean, and continue to Mayport, Fla. Now Little Rock will remain in Montreal until the ice clears, likely in March.

“While in port, the crew of Little Rock will continue to focus on training, readiness and certifications,” a Navy spokesperson told USNI News.

  • muzzleloader

    Poor sailors supposed to be on their way to Florida, and will instead be spending the winter ice locked in Canada.

    • GMM1

      It could be worse they could be stuck in Benton Harbor, MI, instead of Montreal.

      • PolicyWonk

        Right you are – Montreal is a fun city!

        • Samuel Clemens

          Full pay, minimal duties, confined to one the great cities of the World. Oh, definitely hardship pay is in order… A sweet posting, if you can get it…

        • D. Jones

          La Merde Trou!

          • PolicyWonk

            Il y a beaucoup plus de ports d’escale que Montréal: des gens amicaux; bonne bière; Choses à faire.

          • D. Jones

            Poutine gelée. Des femmes avec des vivaneaux velus 😀

          • PolicyWonk

            Difficile de les blâmer – il fait froid au Canada!

          • D. Jones

            Le changement climatique les a rendus poilu!

  • WColton

    I wonder if there will be any hull damage.

    • D. Jones

      A heavily armored Littoral Caribbean Skiff dinged up by wimpy Canadian Ice? Pshaw!

  • Guest

    I’m glad that USNI finally decided to cover this new LCS debacle. It has been on GCaptain for weeks. The US Navy needs to explain what engineering casualty caused LCS-9 to have to “winter over” in Canada. I guess that the US Navy thought that nobody was aware of this problem because of the holidays.

    • Duane

      This is NOT an “LCS debacle”. SMH!!

      Any other Navy ship in this locale this winter would be equally prevented from traversing the route to the Atlantic, since (if you had actually bothered to read the post you’re commenting on), the St. Lawrence seaway is now closed until the ice breakup.

      The USS Little Rock is built at the Martin Marinette Shipyard in Wisconsin – the sole route to the Atlantic Ocean is via the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence seaway.

      The US Navy has been building warships in the Great Lakes since the War of 1812. It is part of our naval heritage.

      Grab an atlas and teach yourself a little geography, and some naval history too. It would help you to avoid embarrassing yourself again.

      • Rollie Flex

        That’s not the “issue”. It’s the genius of an Admiral who said go …

      • El Kabong

        It IS a glaring example of what a joke your rehashed yacht is.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well, at least it’s safe.

    • Samuel Clemens

      No it isn’t. Under Quebec law, all signs must be posted in French (or their approximation of the language). Wonder if there will be an international incident… 🙂

      • D. Jones

        As both Quebec and the Little Rock are unarmed, there could be a lengthy Canadian standoff

  • Guest

    The US Navy decided to do a public affairs stunt by Commissioning LCS-9 in December in Buffalo, NY on December 16, 2017. The ship had an unexplained and unreported engineering casualty and it limped into Montreal later in December.

    All of these problems were documented on other websites weeks ago, but the Navy only decided to release this bad news today after the CNO and SecNav testified before Congress.

    More questions need to be asked:

    1. What was the cause of LCS-9’s engineering casualty?

    2. Why was that engineering problem not fixed before she was frozen in for the winter? It is completely embarrassing that a Commissioned US Navy warship has to “winter over” in Canada because the hull is frozen to the pier.

    3. Which Officers and Civilian Directors in the LCS Program Office are responsible for this failure. How will they be held accountable? (They will never be held accountable because they can claim that they are not personally at fault for this problem).

    This is another reason why our Navy is completely broken.

    • Angie Nathan

      Don’t pay any attention to the LCS kool-aid drinkers. The whole program is a casualty in every respect.

      December 1, 2016

      The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing with top Navy
      officials about the production and deployment of littoral combat ships

      Paul L. Francis
      “But, because they had a rough construct of a
      new mission, a Littoral mission, and they wanted to use some ships to
      see what they could do with it, which I think was a good idea. About 2005, things really changed and that’s when the Navy decided that they couldn’t just stop with two experimental ships. They had to go forward with construction for the industrial
      base. In my mind, that’s when the program really made a change. It went
      from an experimental program to a ship construction program.
      And as with any construction or production
      program, once you get into it and once the money wheel starts to turn,
      the business imperatives of budgets
      and contracts and ship construction take precedent over acquisition and
      oversight principles, things like design, development, test and cost.”

  • John Byron

    Doh… Slap head.

    • NavySubNuke

      That is the best summary of the entire LCS “program” I have ever read!

      • PolicyWonk

        And in a mere 3 words!

  • kye154

    If this LCS is experienced engineering problems, like some of its sister ships did, or can easily get stuck in the ice in Montreal, then its proof it is not a well designed class of ships.

    What is really amazing, when it comes to the subject of ice: Didn’t Lockheed ever tell the navy that you can’t use turbine water jets in ice? The water jets on the LCS were never designed for that, (or to ingest mud, sand, gravel, or marine life that gets in the way either).. Consequently, it limits where the LCS can go, as a trade-off for speed. You really have to wonder what the navy’s thinking was, assuming they had any brains at all, when they chose this type of propulsion system. (They chose the speed boat mentality over littoral versatility). It just simply confirms what everyone else has said about the LCSs and Navy planning as being utter failures.

  • Paul Dennis Hogle

    Look at the positive though. The crew will be able to take in some hockey games, engage in all types of winter sports plus brush up on their French AND Canadian, eh ?

  • PolicyWonk

    So we have yet another “littoral combat pier-queen” delivering less-than-no-value to the taxpayers.

    Excellent.

    ;-P

    • Duane

      Nope … what we have are the same old, same old internet cranks complaining about the LCS when the issue is the climate in Canada in the winter. It gets cold and ices up … who knew???

      • El Kabong

        Yup.

        Your Little Crappy Ship has been defeated by frozen water, Duaney!

        Yet the RCN’s fleet is perfectly capable of operating….

        Frigates, patrol ships….

      • NavySubNuke

        As you well know we can’t post links in this forum but if you google “little rock Montreal repairs steering gear” you’ll find a ton of reports about how the ship was delayed in Montreal repairing it’s steering gear and other “minor repairs” until 5 Jan and by then the ice was to thick to leave.
        I realize that with your complete lack of personal integrity you will refuse to acknowledge this as any part of the issue – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

        • D. Jones

          It took them 4 days to get out of Buffalo due to “inclement weather”

          Then 6 days to get to Montreal.

          Shoulda been named the USS Molasses.

          Let’s not forget this entire boondoggle was orchestrated by then Secy Mabus and an Alabama Congressman who got his wife the christening gig (Ms. Janee Bonner, wife of U.S. Rep. Joe Bonner)

          The entire class should be renamed the BPS*

          *Big Pork Ship

    • D. Jones

      sans “pier”

  • BusterB

    Go…Navy?

  • Paul

    Aside from anything else related to the LCS program, this isn’t surprising. It was built in Wisconsin and commissioned in NY, it has to go through the St. Lawrence Seaway to get out of the Great Lakes, it’s a really cold winter, even big waterways freeze.

  • Samuel Clemens

    Does make you think that the US Navy (and Coast Guard) is dreadfully deficient in cold weather operations. Even with global warming, the ever increasing importance of the Arctic Ocean will require the ability to handle sea ice for years to come. Think maybe there is a big hole in strategic and operational planning?

  • Ed L

    The 4 corvettes of the Royal Moroccan Navy could take out any 4 of the LCS’s

  • scotfahey

    Best place for it, tied to a dock

    • dev4

      Sell it to Canada they buy all kinds of scrap!

  • Brian Banos

    How could this happen I was told the world’s ice was melting. In any case the LCS is outmatched by everything else out there.

    • D. Jones

      Even a beached S.S. Minnow could give the LCS a run for the Looney.

      Guess they should have ordered the icebreaking module…

  • Rock Eye Jack

    This Global Warming sure is making things cold

  • Angie Nathan

    The current temperature in Montreal is 38 degrees. Conditions are much too harsh for a U.S. combat ship to follow an icebreaker in, better wait until spring.

  • Rollie Flex

    Effen genius’ I guess Algore glow ball warming told the Admiral, St. Lawrence always ice free now. So go.
    But watch your props. Ice can “dent them” .

  • El Kabong

    I call BS on you unless you can produce proof, ALL THE TIME, Duaney.

  • Angie Nathan

    “A modicum of knowledge” would know that “wicked weather” sometimes arrives earlier than it did this winter. The only thing left to blame the shortcomings of this program on are the Russians. Reminds me of the shady car dealer stereotype where the vehicle falls apart once it is driven off the lot (and he has the buyers money).

    Isn’t almost every government satellite rocketed to space a “weather satellite”? If the forecast is showing extreme weather, most of us who travel plan accordingly.

  • Kenneth

    A little C4 will get them out.

  • PolicyWonk

    The pronouncement you quote was made by the USN’s own Inspector General.

  • D. Jones

    They just moved her and will deploy the bubble hull protection module

    https://mobile.twitter.com/PrescottAnchor/status/954706542485561345

  • Venator

    LOL…..so much for American weapons…..LOL

    • John Locke

      U.S. nukes work. Give them your GPS digits and they’ll test one for you.

      • D. Jones

        Simulations say they still work. We haven’t tested any since the almost-President could squeeze into a size 12.

  • Gerry Wright

    Superb luck for the lads aboard the Little Rock, much, much worse places to spend a few months. An adventure to remember.

  • El Kabong

    Clearly, you don’t get it…

  • Old Salt

    Silly rabbits, just turn on the “Anti-ice access module” and that’ll clear away those pesky little threats. Oh wait, the LCS squadron with the anti-ice modules onboard are on ‘work ups’ and training in the Carribean, it should only take them another 5-10 years to ‘work out the bugs’ so hang in there.

    • PolicyWonk

      The “anti-ice access module” is stuck behind the “carrier bottom cleaning”, “fleet septic pumping”, and “fleet pizza delivery” mission packages.

      Like everything else LCS: way behind schedule, and way over initial cost estimates.

      • D. Jones

        LCS9 announced 2011. Christened 2013. Launched 2015. Commissioned 2017. Stuck in ice 2018.

        Seven years, half a billion and it’s a frozen asset.

        • Old Salt

          Can’t wait until the Fleet admiral starts calling this a “demonstration of the LCS superior ice class capabilities BAR NONE” and “it’s obviously superior to any other Navy ship out there that can’t handel the ice, blah blah blah”

          • El Kabong

            I’m surprised Adm.Duaney hasn’t shown up to chastise you for trash talking his precious Little Crappy Ship yet… He’s slipping.

  • Old Salt

    the fleet admiral speaks, everyone needs to shut their pie holes and listen to the words of the great Duineee, for he knows all, sees all, and he even get’s out of his basement once a week, so don’t question the great Duiness, or he will rain down “internet cranks” profanities upon you and your offspring for ever and ever, ah-uane

  • Guest

    Please please stop posting your your crap. You have no clue about modern surface ships or submarines. You are a complete fanboy of LCS for some reason.

    You have decided to be a hack on this blog for too long as a cheerleader for LCS. I do not care about your opinions. My goal is to get you banned from this blog and others because of your uninformed comments.

    I welcome your challenge. I don’t care if I am banned.

  • Michael D. Woods

    The Navy has made the remarkable discoveries that Canada is cold in winter and that sometimes it’s colder than other times. Lakes and rivers freeze. Surprise!

  • RetAF111

    I’m just an old Air force guy from Space Command but I have to ask…What has happened to the thinking end of our Navy? Ships running into each other with Millions of $ of surface radar equipment onboard and now the Navy didn’t realize it gets cold and freezes up faster the further north you go? My 16 year old with her nose in her phone is better prepared.

    • OldHickory21

      What you are seeing is what happens when political-correctness is given a higher priority than readiness…….exactly the kind of stuff you see in European militaries, where accomplishing the social goals is the most important thing.

      • D. Jones

        It’s 8.5 sailing days from the Atlantic to Duluth. Buffalo is obviously less. Little Rock was commissioned in Buffalo on December 16th. The Seaway closed on January 11th. That means they had 26 days to get from Buffalo to open water.

        There appears to be zero sense of urgency with getting things done.

        If one looks at usslittlerocklcs9 dot org events calendar, they arrived in Buffalo on 12/4, then spent the next 12 days on receptions, ceremonies, football & hockey games, parties & other events. No idea if the CO and/or crew attended all, but they were scheduled in Buffalo after Little Rock arrived & throughout her stay.

        Presumably, the Navy still has a weather office. Do they forecast weather for the Seaway?

        Did anyone, anywhere have any sense of awareness of a known closing weather window?

        Did anyone involved have any sense of urgency of getting a new ship in service?

        This is a case where the Navy should use their “loss of confidence” across the board.

        It’s now an international joke. The Daily Mail (UK) ran the story yesterday.

        Nothing will happen. Business as usual. An expensive asset is sitting in Montreal unavailable for duty (Total Cost of Ownership, right?)

        Nobody said, “the clock is running, let’s get this show on the road”

        It’s a systemic problem. If they can’t even get underway, how can they be expected to perform in a conflict. Maybe Fitz and McCain had similar “no sense of urgency” issues.

        • OldHickory21

          Good points, but look on the bright side: there’s no chance the Little Rock is going to crash into anyone while frozen-in pierside in Montreal, lol. Seriously, let’s hope they are flying groups of folks out of there to training and schools while the ship is on a break.

          • D. Jones

            Hmm, Littoral Combat Pier… you might be on to something.

            With no engines, we could build more and save at least $75 each on the mission-adjusted price. We need a couple more congressmen desperate for campaign funds, er “eager to support the military” to help support this bold, disruptive initiative.

    • Refguy

      The surface radar doesn’t cost megabucks; t’s no better than the radar(s) on Paul Allen’s yacht (Allen’s yacht may have more surface radars than a DDG). Other than that, right you’re right.

    • Old Salt

      Us Navy guys use to laugh at the air force saying “how screwed up and g a y they were” but the whole joke is on us now. Today, we are far more screwed up, p.c., and just plain wimpy than that air force ever was.

      • El Kabong

        Now, now!

        IIRC, the Village People had a fellow on Navy uniform, not USAF. 😉

        What service did Chuck Norris serve in? 🙂

  • Spectreoneone

    Man, Duane…you need to wake up from whatever LCS wet dream you’re having and realize that you have no idea what you’re talking about. The LCS is an oversized, overpriced PC that can barely defend itself. You talk about SeaRAM (which is only on the LCS 2 variant), which isn’t a bad point defense system, but it will quickly become overwhelmed by any multi-axis or stream-raid threat. COMBATSS 21 is not AEGIS-lite, either, as it doesn’t have any sort of area air-defense or IAMD capability. No, LCS is nothing more than a glorified yacht with a pop gun and some very short range point defense missiles. It’s great if you want to chase down some drug runners in go-fasts or police our waters at home, but it’s garbage for any mission that requires a warship that may need to fight its way out of the littorals it was supposed to incur upon. Nothing more than a glorified Coast Guard cutter that costs way more than it should have.

  • RobM1981

    This is poetic.

    I’ve always had a hard time with the platform, but never with the sailors who manned it.

    Now the sailors get six or eight or ten weeks in Montreal – not too shabby – while the hull is locked in by ice. Again, it’s poetic.

    I just hope that sailors who need to get to their home port can do that, now and again. Even Montreal isn’t the same as being with your family.

  • Pat Patterson

    The USS Neversail!

  • kaigun2

    Right. Because the St. Lawrence has never frozen before in all of history. Must be climate change.

  • D. Jones

    Unable to complete their intended missions, the Navy has repurposed two of its newest warship classes for Great Lakes maritime defense against Canadian incursions.

    The LCS & DD(X) classes will be refitted at modest cost and reemerge as two new classes:

    1) the LC(S) “Lake Combat – Summer” will be equipped with LRAD Sound Cannons, armed with taunts in both Canadian & French.

    2) the LC(W) “Lake Combat – Winter” will see the former DD(X) ships fitted with colossal amphibious air cushions, and new 155-millimeter Advanced Snowball Systems, firing LRLOL frozen projectiles.

    Costs were not immediately available, but described by the program manager as “a bargain at 10 times the prices”

    • Duane-aka Sir Lockmart

      Ahh, don’t forget about the huge success of the “scary face module” who’s power was on full display when an LCS was being chased by a big bad chinese warship, but abruptly turned tale and fled at high speed when the CO ordered the full deployment of the “scary face module” (of course it took and hour to deploy it and drag it behined the LCS on it’s sled). Then the poor litle LCS was able to come out of the littorals to the deep waters again and resume it’s flag waving deployments. But I’m so bad at telling stories, the Fleet Admiral is soooo much better at telling this ‘story’ than I could ever be.

  • Refguy

    Maybe not Canadian, but Canadien and Qubecois are languages. Enjoy your Poutine.

  • muzzleloader

    It is deep winter time in Canada dumbass, what part of that do you not understand?

  • D. Jones

    From today’s Daily Mail:

    re: Stucky McStuckface

    “Justbarry, Welland, Canada, 22 hours ago

    This ship broke down within 20 miles and had to be towed to Port Colborne for repairs. It apparently broke down again near Montreal and has been there for a month. There is more to this story than ice build up because many other ships have sailed through the Seaway since the Little Rock arrived in Montreal”

    Not just one but a twofer.

    KJU is laughing like a bowl full of jelly at this latest fiasco.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Hopeful thinking I fear. I don’t see the article.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    Pat Winters is showing his Pat Winters again

    • El Kabong

      The sad, little troll hasn’t left his mommy’s basement.

      A visit to Newfoundland and getting “Screetched In” would set him straight!

  • Real sailor

    Oh great one, if the Navy is “Extremely Happy” why does the build of the Navy consist of destroyers, amphip, carriers and submaries, with only 1 new LCS per year? Perhaps the Navy doesn’t think too highy of your pricey “never meant to go into combat” toy?

  • CHENG1087

    From the official website of the Port of Montreal (www.port-Montreal.com):

    “YEAR ROUND ACCESS — The Port of Montreal has been providing 365-day service since 1964 with the help of icebreakers from the Canadian Coast Guard. Today, advances in technology provide first-rate navigation along its waterway. The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest inland waterways in the world. Its channel, which is 11.3 meters (37 feet) below the lowest water line (chart datum), is open year-round to all types of ships, including containerships that can carry as many as 6,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent Unit) containers.”

    Today (January 22, 2018), there are thirty-seven (37) vessels of all sizes berthed or moored in the Port of Montreal. Twelve (12) of those ships are noted as “Laid up vessel or wintering laker.” USS LITTLE ROCK is one of the ships listed as “wintering.”

    Today, 22 January, two ships got underway.
    Tomorrow, 23 January, two more ships are scheduled to get underway.
    Wednesday, 24 January, two more ships are scheduled to get underway, including the MAERSK PENANG, a Netherlands registered containership, 610 feet in length, 31,000+ GWT.
    Thursday, 25 January, one more ship is scheduled to get underway.

    Here’s an idea — the Commanding Officer of LITTLE ROCK should have a few Molsons with the Master of the MAERSK PENANG, and see if our stranded LCS can tuck in behind that big containership as she makes her way out to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Just a thought.

  • Kenneth Millstein

    Three little words…really bad planning! or Three more little words…bad weather forecasting!

  • CHENG1087

    From the official website of the Port of Montreal (www.port-montreal.com):

    “YEAR-ROUND ACCESS — The Port of Montreal has been providing 365-day service since 1964 with the help of icebreakers from the Canadian Coast Guard. Today, advances in technology provide first-rate navigation along its waterways. The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest inland waterways in the world. Its channel, which is 11.3 metres (37 feet) below the lowest water line (chart datum), is open year-round to all types of ships, including containerships that can carry as many as 6,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers.”

    Today (23 January 2018), there are thirty-six (36) ships of all types moored or anchored in the Port of Montreal. Twelve (12) of these ships are noted as “Laid up vessel or wintering laker.” USS LITTLE ROCK is identified as one of these “wintering” ships.

    — Two (2) ships are scheduled to get underway today (23 January);
    — Two (2) ships are scheduled to get underway tomorrow (24 January), including the MAERSK PENANG, a Netherlands registered 610-foot containership of 31,000+ GWT.
    — Two (2) ships are scheduled to get underway Thursday (25 January);
    — One (1) ship is scheduled to get underway Friday (26 January).

    Here’s an idea — the Commanding Officer of LITTLE ROCK should have a few Molsons tonight with the Master of MAERSK PENANG, and ask the Master if his stranded LCS can tuck in behind that big containership as she departs the Port of Montreal and transits out to the open sea.

    Just a thought.

    • Retired CO

      That’ll never happen, this whole ‘frozen in ice and wintering over’ thing is just an excuse to cover up a major engineering s c r e w up, hense they ‘need’ 3 months to winter over while they are ripping out and replacing major components. The LCS mafia simply doesn’t want to word to get out and give the LCS another black eye.

      • CHENG1087

        I agree with you completely. That’s why I posted the “real world” status of the Port of Montreal. It didn’t take a whole lot of research to figure out that Montreal is currently “open for business,” all the way to the Atlantic Ocean! Hard to believe that the U. S. Navy has succeeded in convincing the world that a perfectly operable LITTLE ROCK (is she C-1?) is locked in solid ice (where is Shackleton when you need him?) What must the crews of all those merchants think, as they routinely get underway from Montreal and sail past the hapless LCS and down the St. Lawrence? Why hasn’t some reputable media (how about it, USNI?) exposed this farcical charade? I feel sorry for the good men and women in LITTLE ROCK’s crew, being required to go along with this grossly transparent cover story. This must be an engineering casualty of major proportions. I just wish my beloved U. S. Navy would admit to the truth on this one.

        • Retired CO

          don’t worry, they wiped all the servers (“like with a cloth or something?”) so that the multiple CASREP’s will never see the light of day, and the ‘costs’ for this major repair will be sunk into “other programs.”

  • CHENG1087

    The MAERSK PANANG, a Netherlands registered 610 foot, 31,000+ GWT containership is due to depart the Port of Montreal tomorrow (January 24, 2018) and proceed to the open sea. She is just one of a half dozen ships of various sizes and shapes that will get underway from the Port of Montreal this week. (www.port-montreal.com)

  • OS1 retired

    A long time ago, “Flat Earth” was “settled science” and just like today, they prosecuted, harassed, and even put to death anyone who dared point out the facts. So no “Patty Winters,” (sounds like you’ve earned it) your commenty is not legitimate in any way.

  • OS1 retired

    Moderator, Pat Winter is suggesting sexually deviant acts upon another member here. He needs to be banned from this forum

  • Spookie

    This Pat Winter guy is name calling other member on this forum. He needs to be banned moderator.

  • TalosGuy

    Pat….. you’re way off base here. Not to mention a little strange.
    Maybe you could start an “Ax Grinders’ Forum”.

  • TalosGuy

    Pat…. are you trying to tell us something?
    Your message seems to be getting lost in the mix of hyperbole and profanity.