Tag Archives: Marine

Lockheed’s Littoral Ship ‘Corroding Before Our Eyes’

Bloomberg — Lawmakers say they want Congress’s auditing agency to investigate how the Navy has handled failings with its new Littoral Combat Ship, including when the service learned of cracks and corrosion.

“It’s disturbing the Navy would accept a ship that fails to meet the basic requirements for a tugboat,” Representative Jackie Speier said in a statement yesterday as the House Armed Services Committee endorsed her request that the Government Accountability Office review the $37 billion, 55-ship program. “The future of the fleet is corroding before our eyes.”

The Littoral Combat Ship is intended to clear mines, hunt for submarines, defend itself against swarming small vessels and provide humanitarian relief in shallow coastal waters. Cracks were found in a version being built by a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. Corrosion was found in the first vessel made by Austal Ltd. and General Dynamics Corp. The review would involve both models.

The amendment by Speier, a California Democrat, was adopted during the House committee’s consideration of legislation to authorize defense programs for fiscal 2013. The Senate has yet to take up its version of the bill.

Even with demands for more scrutiny of the Littoral Combat Ship, the full committee supported the $2.2 billion requested by the Navy for the next four vessels, including $429.4 million in development funds, in the defense authorization measure it approved today. The House defense appropriations subcommittee also has approved funding for the four ships.

Support ‘Remains Solid’

“Our impression is that congressional support remains solid,” Rear Admiral James Murdoch, the program executive officer, told reporters yesterday on a conference call. “Obviously, I am held accountable for any concerns about ship construction issues, and I welcome the scrutiny. We take all issues seriously.”

Republican Representative Reid Ribble, whose Wisconsin district includes the shipyard where the Lockheed Martin vessels are built and many of the workers, issued a statement to “rebuff baseless claims that undermine their work.” He said “the small issues that are normal for any newly designed vessel” have been corrected.

Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Dana Casey said questions raised about its first vessel, the USS Freedom, “appear to be based on selective information that is outdated or inaccurate.” The vessel was deployed two years ahead of schedule and “is providing important lessons that are being incorporated into future ships,” she said in an e-mailed statement.

‘Getting Job Done’

Austal USA spokesman Craig Hooper said his company’s first vessel, the USS Independence, “has been quietly getting the job done, doing the critical yet low-profile work required to deploy cutting-edge mine warfare tools and sensors.”

Representative Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican, also have requested that the GAO assess concerns about the ship’s sea frame and mission equipment.

“Sure, there are criticisms and we kind of welcome those, but it helps us kind of sharpen our focus on what it is we need to go work on,” Rear Admiral Thomas Rowden, the Navy’s director of surface warfare, told reporters yesterday. “But these are incredibly capable ships, and we are finding the issues and addressing them.”

Lockheed, General Dynamics

Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is leading construction of its ship model in Marinette Marine Corp.’s shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. The other version is being built in Mobile, Alabama, by a team led by Austal, based in Henderson, Australia, and General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Virginia.

Completion of 55 ships in the class would represent about 17 percent of a surface fleet with aircraft carriers, destroyers and amphibious assault ships.

The Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan group that has criticized the ship, issued a report last month using year-old Navy documents to highlight construction difficulties.

McCain said cracks, flooding and corrosion problems on the first ships have been corrected, and construction costs have declined from a peak of more than $700 million a ship to less than $360 million.

Mission Modules

“Over the last year, nearly all of the reported deficiencies have been fixed on the lead ships and design changes have been integrated into the follow-ships with minor cost impact,” McCain said in an April 30 statement. He said his concern now is with the ship’s “mission modules,” equipment that can be installed depending on the combat assignment.

A lack of progress in developing the modules may “throw the program out of sync and threaten its success,” McCain said in the statement.

The equipment includes an $89.4 million “mine- countermine” module designed to detect and neutralize mines at varying depths. Northrop Grumman Corp. is the prime contractor for the modules.

The mine detection system isn’t meeting its combat specifications for distinguishing between mines and other objects in a search area as well as detecting and pinpointing a mine’s depth, according to the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation.

The Navy program office rates the counter-mine module’s performance characteristics as “yellow,” the middle category in a grading system with green for best and red for worst, according to program review documents.
SOURCE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/05/10/bloomberg_articlesM3RWBV6JTSEC01-M3TJG.DTL#ixzz1uZQpRT95

Stopping Corrosion in our Harbors – Duluth/Superior Harbor

Every ship that passes under the Duluth/Superior harbor lift bridge is a sign of a healthy, working, international port. but for this to exist, requires steel. Nearly 14-miles of underwater metal.

Loading facilities, docks and shorelines, the shipping canals; the very foundation of industry here is built on an underwater steel infrastructure. But it’s corroding, and failing.

It’s falling victim to an aggressive form of fresh water corrosion.

Chad Scott is with an engineering company based in Superior. He first discovered the unique form of corrosion back in 1998 and brought it to the attention of the scientific community.

Today, his focus has turned to helping repair the harbor and protect it from further damage.

“There were a couple of projects in the harbor we were called to inspect that had already completely failed. They had gotten so thin and with the forces on them, the steel actually bent so you can’t repair it at that point,” Scott said.

Replacing all the steel in the harbor would be a monumental task, taking years and costing hundreds of millions of dollars. But does it all have to be replaced? Not necessarily, if the corrosion is caught early enough.

It also depends on individual docks. There are some docks that have actually commenced replacement projects and there are other ones that have gone through protective procedures.

Good news for the port, because it owns such a large amount of steel shoreline. Last summer they repaired this entire dock line, a $6 million fix.

From federal to local, that effort includes UMD’s Biology Department, and Dean Dr. Randall Hicks. Dr. Hicks says it’s a multi-agency battle because there are global implications.

“Corrosion is a major problem world-wide. it’s responsible for huge economic losses and there’s a lot of effort put in to try and prevent corrosion, even on your cars with better primers and paints. The problem is in a harbor you have steel that’s submerged and it’s very expensive to replace it or to mitigate the problem.”

Dr. Hicks said we are beginning to understand the problem. But in order to find real, long term solutions, additional research needs to be done. and research takes money.

“We are doing our best to gather as much information as we can so we can keep the study moving forward. But without additional funding it’s not going to go forward.”

The short term goal is to save the steel that can still be saved. Long term, researchers hope new alloys and materials will be developed for future construction that can stand up to this aggressive corrosion.

Divers have been measuring corrosion rates over the last two years, both in and outside the harbor. It’s research that may not only help us, but ports around the world.

SOURCE: http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/S2378127.shtml?cat=10335

Corroded pipe caused Pierce County Sheriff’s boat to sink

It was a corroded water intake pipe that sank a Pierce County sheriff’s patrol boat docked at the Narrows Marina in Tacoma.

After an unsuccessful attempt to raise The Reliance out of the water Monday night, crews from Global Diving & Salvage Inc. were called in Tuesday morning.

They strapped multiple air bags to the 32-foot vessel and lifted it while pumping out water. The boat then was towed to shore, hoisted on a trailer and parked on the other side of the marina.

Crews discovered the cause of the problem as soon as the boat was raised from Puget Sound. Water began gushing back into the boat from a 2-inch metal pipe beneath The Reliance’s deck.

“It was kind of a battle to see how fast we could pump the water out and how fast it was coming in,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

The pipe is one of two used to cool the engine.

“It’s a part that shouldn’t have failed,” Troyer said.

Although crews do regular maintenance on the boat, officials said, the corrosion wouldn’t necessarily have been seen on the outside of the pipe.

An insurance company employee inspected the boat after it was pulled from the water. Although it’s too soon to know, it’s possible that workers can salvage the twin diesel engines, hull and other high-ticket parts.

Marine experts are expected to inspect the vessel Wednesday and salvage what they can.

It’s too early to know whether the boat will be more expensive to repair or replace, Troyer said.

“If we can salvage it, we sure will,” he said.

The Reliance is the only patrol/rescue boat deputies use on Puget Sound. Tacoma and Gig Harbor police are on call for any problems on the waterway, but the Sheriff’s Office plans to move one of its patrol boats from a county lake while the sunken boat is assessed.

A family pulling in to get gas at the marina noticed the sinking boat Monday afternoon. Within 25 minutes, all of it was underwater except an antenna mast.

The Reliance has patrolled the Puget Sound since it was commissioned in 1994. It is valued at $500,000, officials said Monday.

The county spent $260,000 to have the boat built in 1994. It has spent more than $100,000 since to put in new engines and upgrade the electronics.

SOURCE: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/theblotter/2015663792_sheriffboat.html

Corrosion from WWII shipwrecks could threaten U.S. coast

Fuel, cargo tanks corroding

On the evening of Feb. 2, 1942, an unarmed tanker with 66,000 barrels of crude oil on board was steaming in the Atlantic, about 90 miles off Ocean City. Without warning, it was struck by German torpedoes. The attack set the W.L. Steed ablaze, and sank it; only a handful of the crew of 38 survived.

As World War II unfolded, the Germans had moved part of their sub pack west to attack shipping along the coast. By the time the Nazis withdrew the subs in July to focus on convoys crossing the North Atlantic, they had sunk 397 ships in U.S. coastal waters.

That wartime legacy has become a new environmental problem, raising concern about leaks from the W.L. Steed’s sunken fuel bunkers and cargo — and from many others like it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking an inventory of more than 30,000 coastal shipwrecks — some of them casualties of the 1942 Battle of the Atlantic — and identifying those that pose the most significant threat.

“We’re starting to see significant corrosion. Vessels that weren’t totally torpedoed didn’t break apart and may have intact fuel tanks,” NOAA’s Lisa C. Symons said.

It’s not just the ship’s own fuel bunkers, either. Many, like the W.L. Steed, sank with holds filled with crude oil, fuel oil, diesel fuel and explosives. Leaks of those products “could devastate coastal communities and coastal environments,” Symons said.

So far, the worst-threat list has been narrowed to 233 vessels, said Symons, damage assessment and resource protection coordinator for NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries office in Silver Spring.

The final list will be submitted by year’s end to the Coast Guard. Once priorities are established, efforts to remove the oil from the wrecks could begin, paid through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is supported by the oil industry.

While NOAA’s risk assessments are not complete, Symons did identify five sunken ships — four within 60 miles of the coast — that could make the list as environmental threats to Maryland. They include:

  • John Morgan, a Liberty ship built in 1943 at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards in Baltimore. In June 1943, on its maiden voyage, it collided with another vessel off Cape Henry and sank with a cargo of fighter planes, tanks, arms and ammunition. Sixty-seven crew members and armed guards perished.
  • Marine Electric, a coal carrier out of Norfolk, Va. With 3,600 barrels of fuel oil in its bunkers, it foundered in heavy seas and sank 30 miles east of Chincoteague Inlet in February 1983. Thirty-one of the 34 crew members died in the frigid water.
  • Varanger, a Norwegian tanker. It was torpedoed on Jan. 25, 1942, while carrying 12,750 tons of fuel oil. As the crew took to lifeboats, the Germans fired three more torpedoes. The ship sank 28 miles southeast of Atlantic City, N.J., but the lifeboats were spotted and fishing boats towed them to shore.
  • India Arrow, an oil tanker. On Feb. 5, 1942, the tanker, carrying 88,369 barrels of diesel fuel, was torpedoed 20 miles southeast of Cape May, N.J. Nine officers and 29 crew abandoned ship, but only 12 survived.

Spills from wrecks are a global threat, with the highest concentration of ships lying in the western Pacific. But the U.S. coastline, too, is littered with vessels sunk by Japanese and German submarines, in collisions or storms.

NOAA is using a $1 million appropriation secured last year by Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings to inventory wrecks and identify environmental threats. Part of NOAA’s task has been to comb through ship manifests, naval records, reports of sinkings, insurance documents and survivors’ accounts to determine which ships burned and which probably went down with their fuel and cargo.

From that, the agency can work to identify those posing the greatest risk of leaking, and those offering opportunities for salvage operations to recover the oil or other cargo before it becomes a costly spill.

Some are already leaking. The most famous example is the 608-foot battleship USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Sunk Dec. 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack, it went down with 1,177 sailors on board, and 1.1 million gallons of fuel. About half of that fuel remains on board and continues to leak into the harbor.

At a Baltimore conference last month, David L. Conlin of the National Park Service said his study of the leak found that previously intact fuel compartments are still corroding, rupturing and releasing their contents.

While Conlin’s study concluded there is “no pressing need” for “invasive” procedures to enter the ship — which is a war grave — to recover the fuel, it also suggests how long these 70-year-old wrecks may remain environmental concerns.

“Three hundred sixty years from now, in the core part of the USS Arizona, the oil bunkers here will still have significant structural integrity,” he said.

SOURCE (and Read More): http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-07-08/news/bs-md-shipwreck-oil-20110708_1_fuel-oil-fuel-bunkers-crude-oil