The littoral combat ship Montgomery can't seem to catch a break.
Less than three weeks since a pair of engineering casualties sent the trimaran into port for repairs, Montgomery took a hard knock from a tug as it sortied from Mayport, Florida ahead of the Hurricane Matthew.
The Tuesday collision opened up a foot-long crack amidships along a weld seam, about three feet above the waterline, according to a report obtained by Navy Times. The crack was letting in about a gallon of water every three minutes until sailors plugged the quarter-inch crack with wedges, the report said.
Sailors installed dewatering systems to the space; the ship does not need to come back into port.
The accident happened in choppy waters with winds gusting up to 30 nautical miles-per-hour in Mayport harbor.
"As the ship was departing the [Mayport] basin, pilot requested tugs come along the starboard side to push Montgomery further from the quay wall and the aft landed hard on the starboard side" the report reads.
Sailors also reported five of the horizontal beams in the hull – called stringers – were bent.
Naval Surface Force Pacific confirmed to report in a statement, adding that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the fender-bender.
"USS Montgomery (LCS 8) sustained a crack to its hull while getting underway from Naval Station Mayport under orders to sortie Oct. 4," the statement read. "This crack resulted in minor seawater intrusion, but was contained by the crew. An investigation into possible causes is underway, and the ship will receive more permanent repairs upon her return to port."
Montgomery, alongside the cruiser Anzio and amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, were sortied from Mayport ahead of the storm, which is expected to slam into Florida’s east coast as a massive Category 4 hurricane.
The Air Force Hurricane Hunters measured the storms’ winds overnight at 125 mph, and the storm is expected to strengthen as it approaches Florida tonight.
Montgomery suffered a pair of engineering failures within 24 hours, the Navy announced Sept. 16. The ship pulled into Mayport on its own power for repairs, which were under warranty from the manufacturer.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.