Navy to remove water, anchors from ship


POSTED: Monday, February 09, 2009

The Navy was scheduled this morning to make another attempt after failing three times this weekend to refloat a 9,600-ton Pearl Harbor warship that ran aground last week near the airport.

;[Preview]  Third Attempt To Dislodge Navy Warship Fails

The high tech cruiser ran aground thurs night and has been sitting in water about a half mile south of Honolulu International Airport.



The Navy had some success early yesterday morning, moving the USS Port Royal slightly, but was still ultimately unable to free the ship, according to Rear Adm. Joseph Walsh, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“;Although we used more horsepower than we had available on Saturday morning's attempt, we were unsuccessful,”; Walsh said. “;Our efforts (yesterday) morning resulted in us being able to pivot Port Royal more than 20 degrees, but we were unable to pull the ship free.”;

The Navy needs to lighten the ship, which is stuck on a reef, by extracting water and removing its anchors and chains, according to Walsh. High tide for today was forecast at 4:05 a.m., when the Navy was scheduled to make a fourth day of attempts.

The Navy plans to remove 800 tons of water and 40 tons of anchors and anchor chains. The anchors will be left in the water and retrieved later, Walsh said.

The $1 billion cruiser had just ended a four-month routine maintenance in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and was finishing the first day of sea trials when it ran aground in 22 feet of water at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The Navy has attempted and failed at freeing the ship since then.

Beginning at 1:30 a.m. yesterday, several Navy and privately owned ships—including salvage ships and seven tugboats—attempted to free the ship by lightening the ship and adding more pulling power.

The ship poses no immediate threat to the environment. There are no leaks of fuel or oil, and the missile cruiser still remains “;structurally sound.”; But the Clean Island response vessel and Coast Guard have been standing by in case there is an environmental spill.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.