The Navy warship that was stuck on the St. Lawrence River for three months is now underway to its homeport at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., a Navy official told USNI News on Monday.
Littoral Combat Ship USS Little Rock (LCS-9) left on Saturday bound for the Atlantic Ocean after weathering the winter pier-side in Montreal, Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told USNI News.
“The ship was moored at the Port of Montreal until weather conditions improved and the St. Lawrence Seaway melted enough for the safe passage of the ship,” Hillson said.
“Keeping the ship in Montreal until weather conditions improved ensured the safety of the ship and crew.”
Canadian ship spotters posted photos of the icebreaker CCGS Des Groseilliers escorting Little Rock down the St. Lawerence on Saturday.
“We greatly appreciate the support and hospitality of the city of Montreal, the Montreal Port Authority and the Canadian Coast Guard,” Little Rock commanding officer Cmdr. Todd Peters said in a statement.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to further enhance our strong partnerships.”
The Littoral Combat Ship was stranded on the river in January. It was returning from its December commissioning ceremony in Buffalo, N.Y., where it entered the fleet next to its namesake, the decommissioned guided-missile cruiser USS Little Rock (CG-4).
Little Rock was late leaving Buffalo due to weather and had stopped in Montreal for a port visit and minor repairs.
“The ship was ready to depart Montreal, but the extreme cold, subsequent condition of the St. Lawrence Seaway and availability of icebreakers and support ships caused the delay,” Hillson told USNI News in January.
#CCGShip DES GROSEILLIERS escorting the “USS Little Rock” this morning, 31-Mar-18, passing off the anchorage to Sorel-Tracy, QC. @CoastGuardCAN #CCGProud Photo by: René Beauchamp. Via: Shipspotting C.C.G. https://t.co/VNlvVw2uDH and https://t.co/3urzFGe8Xh pic.twitter.com/tyhhOGmd3W
— C.C.G. Facebook (@CCGAtlantic) April 1, 2018
As the ship traveled down the St. Lawrence in January, the Navy determined it was safer to wait out the winter until the ice melted. Icebreakers patrol the Seaway, but they give preference to commercial traffic.
While sidelined, two dozen of the crew participated in at least one community service outing to help stock the Welcome Hall Mission in Saint-Henri near where the ship was moored, according to a report in the CBC.
According to local press reports, the crew’s stay in Montreal was largely uneventful, aside from noise complaints from nearby condo-dwellers who took issue with the noise the ship’s shore-side power generators made.
“It’s like the motor of a large truck that’s driving at a high speed,” Montreal resident Alain Stanke told The Canadian Press in March.
“Those two generators are detestable.”
Now that Little Rock is underway, it’s set to arrive in Mayport, Fla., by the end of the month after making several port calls along the way.