Military Sealift Command Ship Crew Extinguishes Engine Fire, Ship Towed Back to Alabama

April 1, 2024 4:34 PM
Three amphibious assault vehicles (AAV-7A1) are offloaded from Military Sealift Command vessel USNS SGT William R. Button (T-AK-3012) in a maritime prepositioning force training evolution in Port Hueneme, California during Exercise Pacific Blitz 2019 (PacBlitz19). US Navy Photo

A fire broke out in the engine room of the USNS Sgt. William R. Button (T-AK-3012), leaving it stranded off the coast of Dauphin Island in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.

Sgt. William R. Button is a Military Sealift Command ship. It was conducting routine operations at the time of the fire, MST spokesman Thomas Van Leunen told USNI News in a statement.

There were 53 people aboard the ship at the time of the fire, which left the ship stranded about 24 miles from Dauphin Island, according to Alabama’s Channel 5 News WKRG. The crew was able to use the onboard CO2 fire suppression system to extinguish the fire, according to Van Leunen’s statement. The cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no injuries.

Four tugboats brought the ship to Alabama Shipyard in Mobile, Ala. It was expected to arrive by 6 a.m. Friday, but did not make it until 12:45 p.m., according to WKRG.

Button was in Alabama for scheduled maintenance, Van Leunen said in the statement. The ship is part of the Navy’s Maritime Prepositioning Force.

General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division in Quincy, Mass., built the ship, which the Navy acquired in 1986. It entered service under MSC as MV Sgt. William R. Button and then entered the service as USNS Sgt. William R. Button in 2009, according to the Navy.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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