Navy's tugs fail to pull warship off sea bottom


POSTED: Saturday, February 07, 2009

Navy divers and a salvage ship were to try again today to free a 9,600-ton Pearl Harbor warship that ran aground Thursday night about a half-mile south of Honolulu Airport's reef runway, the Navy said.





        Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding

Cost: $1 billion


Propulsion: 4 gas turbine engines


Length: 567 feet


Beam: 55 feet


Displacement: 9,600 tons


Speed: 30-plus knots


Crew: 24 officers, 340 enlisted


Armament: Standard missile; vertical launch missile; Tomahawk cruise missile; Six MK-46 torpedoes; two MK 45 5-inch/.54-caliber guns; two Phalanx close-in-weapons systems


Aircraft: Two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters


Source: U.S. Navy




The $1 billion guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal, skippered by Capt. John Carroll, was transferring Navy officials to a small boat when it ran aground just before 8:30 p.m. Thursday about 1.5 miles from the entrance to Pearl Harbor.

The warship is stuck in about 20 feet of water.

No one was injured. The ship has a crew of about 360.

Around 2 a.m. yesterday, at high tide, Navy tugs tried unsuccessfully to pull the 567-foot cruiser off the rocky and sandy bottom.

The Navy said divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One from Pearl Harbor and the salvage ship USS Salvor would try to tow the warship at high tide at 2:45 this morning.

The grounding and the extent of damage to the Port Royal, which is equipped with a large sonar dome that protrudes below the bow of the warship, are under investigation. Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, made a special trip to the Port Royal yesterday to get a personal assessment of the situation.

;[Preview]  Warship Ship Remains Aground Near Airport

The U.S.S. Port Royal ran aground Thursday night about a half mile from the Honolulu International Airport's reef runway. It remains stuck in place as of Friday night, with investigators determining what caused the incident.

Watch  ]


Grounding of any Navy vessel generally means the end of a Navy career for its commander. Carroll has commanded the Port Royal since October. He also led the frigate Rodney M. Davis in 2002 and deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz strike group.


Navy and Coast Guard personnel are monitoring the surrounding area from shore, from the air and from the sea for any signs of leaking diesel marine fuel, which propels the cruiser's four jet turbine engines. There has been no indication that any fuel leaked. The Port Royal has the capacity to carry 600,000 gallons.

The cruiser, which was commissioned in 1994, had just completed an $18 million five-month stint at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for routine repairs and maintenance and a new paint job.

It had left Pearl Harbor on Thursday for several days of sea trials.

The Port Royal is one of the Navy's premier warships, equipped with the sophisticated Aegis radar system and capable of shooting down enemy ballistic missiles.