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Casualty briefs

Jan 30, 2017 02:59 PM

Zumwalt loses propulsion, hits Panama Canal wall
USS Zumwalt, dubbed the “stealth ship” for its unusual design and ability to elude enemy radar, lost propulsion and struck a lock wall in the Panama Canal, scraping its hull.

The incident in November marked the third engineering casualty for the new 610-foot DDG 1000, built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and delivered to the Navy last May.

The U.S. Naval Institute reported Zumwalt’s Panama Canal casualty occurred after seawater leaked from failed lube oil chillers, damaging bearings that connect the ship’s complex propulsion system to its drive shafts. A similar incident occurred in September, according to the USNI, and the ship also had another engineering problem after its Oct. 15 commissioning.

Both of the drive shafts locked during the Panama Canal passage and the transit had to be completed with tugs.

Zumwalt, which was en route to its home port of San Diego, underwent repairs at a former U.S. naval station in Panama and resumed its voyage on Nov. 30. The ship arrived at its destination on Dec. 8.

Naval officials and a Bath Iron Works spokesman declined to comment on the Panama Canal incident.

Bulker loses propulsion, grounds in Columbia River
A loaded bulk carrier lost propulsion and ran hard aground in the Columbia River, punching a hole in the ship’s forward hull below the waterline.

The 738-foot Nenita was outbound from Kalama, Wash., when it left the channel and grounded along a river bend near Skamokawa, Wash., with a Columbia River Pilot on board. The incident occurred at 0321 on Nov. 19.

The bulker’s crew isolated the flooding to the ship’s forepeak, according to the Coast Guard. The tugs P.J. Brix and Willamette helped pull Nenita free after dawn on Nov. 19.

Nenita was carrying about 300,000 gallons of high-sulfur fuel, and an oil spill response vessel accompanied the ship during the upriver transit back to Kalama. Coast Guard air crews found no signs of sheening or pollution during the voyage, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

The extent of the hull damage was not disclosed. The Coast Guard and Columbia River Pilots declined to comment on the propulsion issue that preceded the grounding.

Tennessee grounding leads to 42-barge breakaway
Forty-two barges broke away from a downbound towboat on the Mississippi River after the lead barges ran aground at mile marker 770, roughly 20 miles north of Memphis, Tenn.

The 10,500-hp Cooperative Enterprise was guiding the barges, loaded with corn and soybeans, to New Orleans when the grounding occurred on Nov. 19. The barges were in a six-by-seven arrangement, the Coast Guard said.

Cooperative Enterprise retrieved the barges with help from two other towboats. Most of the barges grounded along the riverbank, and all but four were recovered within a day of the accident.

The Coast Guard closed the Mississippi River to all traffic between mile markers 771 and 750 while the barges were recovered. The river fully reopened four days after the accident.

The grounding is still under investigation and the Coast Guard would not comment on the possible cause.

Cooperative Enterprise is operated by an Archer Daniels Midland subsidiary. A company representative did not respond to Professional Mariner’s request for comment.

Dry dock sinks while under tow to Mexico
Authorities are trying to determine why a dry dock being towed from Seattle to a Mexico scrap facility sank 40 miles west of San Francisco.

The 4,200-hp tugboat Ocean Ranger was hauling the 598-foot dry dock YFD 70 to Ensenada, Mexico, on Oct. 25 when the crew noticed the dry dock was listing. It sank at about 0200 the next day in 3,000 feet of water. Hazardous materials had been removed before the vessels departed Seattle and there was no pollution from the incident.

The Coast Guard reported 25-knot winds, 4-foot swells and dense fog at the time of the sinking. The incident is under investigation and the Coast Guard would not discuss a possible cause.

Todd Pacific bought the 71-year-old dry dock from the Navy in 2009. Two years later, Vigor bought Todd Pacific. Vigor stopped using the dock in 2015, said Jill Mackie, Vigor’s senior vice president of public affairs.

Mackie said a marine surveyor inspected the structure before it left Seattle, and that the Coast Guard had approved the voyage. Western Towboat, which operates Ocean Ranger, declined to comment on the incident.

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