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Cruiser damaged in collision to miss deployment

Nov. 15, 2012 - 03:10PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 15, 2012 - 03:10PM  |  
The cruiser San Jacinto is in dry dock in a Mayport, Fla., repair facility and will miss its next deployment.
The cruiser San Jacinto is in dry dock in a Mayport, Fla., repair facility and will miss its next deployment. (Navy)
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The cruiser damaged in an Oct. 13 collision with a submarine now rests on blocks in a Mayport, Fla., repair facility and will miss its upcoming deployment.

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The cruiser damaged in an Oct. 13 collision with a submarine now rests on blocks in a Mayport, Fla., repair facility and will miss its upcoming deployment.

The news is another sign the San Jacinto's collision with the attack sub Montpelier was more severe than the two hulls rubbing paint.

The ship entered the dry dock, operated by BAE Systems, on Nov. 1 for four months of repairs, Naval Sea Systems Command said in a news release. The initial price tag is $9.7 million.

"The primary focus of the emergent dry-docking availability is to repair the sonar dome and peripheral hull and equipment damaged during the collision," NAVSEA said in the release. "The Navy and BAE will inspect the ship over the next several days to determine what additional repairs, if any, may be required."

San Jacinto is expected to complete its repairs and leave dry dock in February, NAVSEA said, and will miss its upcoming deployment. Another ship is likely to be tapped for the early 2013 cruise.

"We will be able to meet all operational commitments by shifting available assets to deploy in place of San Jacinto," said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Fleet Forces Command.

Kafka was unable to immediately say which ship would deploy in the cruiser's stead.

Officials have not disclosed the cause and the circumstances of the collision between the cruiser and the Montpelier.

Both ships are part of the Truman Carrier Strike Group, which is slated to deploy early next year, and the mid-October training was part of their work-ups. During this exercise, the cruiser's bow slammed into the stern of the submarine.

Kafka said the Navy's safety and command investigations of the mishap are ongoing. He was unable to provide a cost estimate of Montpelier's damages, including a severed top rudder and what officials have characterized as "structural damage" to the stern and the after-most main ballast tank.

Officials plan to tow the sub up to Norfolk, Va. for dry-dock repairs by the end of the year.

Officials aren't saying whether Montpelier will make its upcoming cruise, a situation that seems increasingly unlikely.

Kafka said that no crew members on either ship had been disciplined as a result of the mishap.

One unexpected upside: The cruiser's crew will get to winter in Florida. The crew, home-ported in Norfolk., is bunking in two berthing barges while their ship gets fixed.

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