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According to a recent CNN report, the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship the USS Fort Worth will require repairs totaling an estimated $23 million due to insufficient lube oil flow to the ship's combining gears.
The 4-year-old, $360-million ship suffered damage to its combining gears on Jan. 12 during an in-port period in Singapore, where it has been since the incident. Combining gears allow the ship to configure different combinations of engines for propulsion at sea.
The Fort Worth will journey from Singapore to San Diego this summer for the needed repairs. It is expected to take several months to complete the necessary inspections, conduct lube oil system flushes and configure the engineering plant for safe operations.
"During startup of the main propulsion diesel engines, lube oil was not properly supplied to the ship's combining gears as required by the ship's operating procedures," said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins. "The insufficient flow of lube oil resulted in high-temperature alarms on the port and starboard combining gears."
The Fort Worth's commanding officer, Cmdr. Michael L. Atwell, was recently relieved of his duties due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command. Atwell has been temporarily re-assigned in San Diego. Cmdr. Lex Walker has assumed temporary duties as commanding officer until a permanent replacement is assigned.
In December, another littoral combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, had to be towed back to port in Virginia after experiencing a loss of propulsion caused by metal debris in its gear filter systems. To read more about this story, visit www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/30349/lube-oil-debris.