Tuesday, February 15, 2011

U.S. Navy Destroyer's Mast Breaks Off while the warship was underway off the northern Florida coast

The upper part of the mast on the destroyer Gravely broke off Feb. 13 while the warship was underway off the northern Florida coast, the U.S. Navy has confirmed.
"While underway conducting routine operations Feb. 13, USS Gravely (DDG 107) experienced structural damage to the mast mounted antenna. No personnel were injured during the incident," Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a spokesperson for the Second Fleet in Norfolk, said in a Feb. 15 e-mail to Defense News. "USS Gravely's crews took immediate action and secured the damaged mast-mounted antenna. The cause and extent of the damage is unknown.

"The ship safely returned to Mayport, Fla. at approximately 10 a.m. local yesterday and is undergoing assessment. Commander, U.S. Second Fleet and Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic are taking prudent actions to ensure safe, efficient and effective repairs to the ship. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is leading the investigation to identify the root cause of the failure."
The Gravely, a DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer, was built by Northrop Grumman's Ingalls Shipyard in Mississippi and is virtually a new ship, having been commissioned last November.
NAVSEA was unable initially to respond to a question as to whether other ships of the Arleigh Burke class have suffered similar damage. The Gravely is the 57th ship of the class, which remains in production.
"The investigation will determine the root cause of the failure and whether similar conditions exist on other ships of the class," said Alan Baribeau, a NAVSEA spokesman in Washington.
A video production crew from Discovery Channel Canada and Exploration Productions in Toronto was on board the Gravely at the time of the incident, working on an upcoming episode of the Mighty Ships series. A spokesman for the company in Toronto declined to comment on the incident.
Judging from a photo produced online by the Web site coltoncompany.com, the break was clean, coming at a weld joining the uppermost part of the mast to a lower part, just above and behind the URN-25 aircraft navigational beacon. The mast appears to have been kept from falling off completely by the electrical cables running inside.
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