Tuesday, December 15, 2015


15 December 2015:  In the past several months we have written about a few things that continue to pop up in the world of maritime events. About a year ago, we wrote of the arrival (and later, the departure) of Mayflower II at Mystic Seaport for some badly needed restoration work, mentioning that the program would encompass several years. Plimouth Plantation, which owns the ship, is trying to have her sea worthy and looking Bristol by the 400 year anniversary of the site in 2020. So, our first follow-up Mayflower II.

Mayflower IIPlimoth Plantation’s 1957 replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1620, departed her berth on the Plymouth waterfront on Tuesday, December 1 to head to Mystic, CT, for preservation work during the winter at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport.

Mayflower II arrived at Mystic Seaport last week to complete her journey from Plymouth, MA. The ship began the day in New Bedford, MA, where she had paused for a couple of days to wait for favorable weather conditions.

In this second phase of a multi-year preservation initiative for the nearly 60-year-old ship, Mystic seaport shipwrights and Plimoth Plantation maritime artisans will be replacing the half-deck area as well as working on the tween deck and topmast rigging. While visitor access to the ship cannot be determined at this time, Plimoth Plantation and Mystic Seaport expect to make possible some opportunities for public engagement over the winter.

Mayflower II will return to Plymouth in the spring for the busy tourism season.

Next up - the ill-starred LCS program raises its ugly mug again, this time with the newest LCS (that means littoral combat ship, by the way), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5). 

The U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship had to be towed into port last week after losing propulsion off the coast of Virginia.  

A statement from the U.S. Navy said the ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), was en-route to a naval base in Little Creek when it lost propulsion Thursday night while approximately 40 nautical miles off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.

The USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53) was sent to retrieve the vessel and tow it to the Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) at Little Creek-Fort Story, where they arrived at approximately 9 p.m. EST on Friday.

The USS Milwaukee will undergo full diagnostics and repair while at the JEB Little Creek-Fort Story. 

The Navy says the delay was caused “by the discovery of metallic debris in the port and starboard combining gear filter systems”.

“The Milwaukee crew initially took action Monday when they discovered very fine metallic debris in the port combining gear filter system,” the Navy said in a statement. “The crew cleaned the combining gear filters following established procedures, but locked the port shaft as a precautionary measure to prevent possible shaft damage. Thursday evening, while conducting routine steering checks, the ship lost pressure in the starboard combining gear lube oil system. The casualty was due to similar metallic debris contamination of the filter.”

USS Milwaukee was en-route to Little Creek following the ship’s commissioning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 21.

Milwaukee is a Freedom-variant of the littoral combat ship and will be homported in San Diego.  The Freedom-variant LCSs are designed and built by a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. and built at Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. 

And last but not least, USS Zumwalt makes a return engagement to these pages - in a good way! We last wrote about the newest and most aggressive destroyer just last week in a piece about her beginning her sea-trials. She was still undergoing these necessary tests of her systems when the crew came to the rescue of an ailing fisherman off the coast of Maine on Saturday. 

The U.S. Coast Guard had received a distress call at approximately 3 a.m. Saturday from a 45-foot fishing boat named Danny Boy stating that the captain was experiencing chest pains and was in need of medical assistance while about 40 nautical miles southeast of Portland, Maine.

A Coast Guard helicopter was launched to medevac the patient, but once on scene the aircrew determined the hoist too dangerous due to the configuration of Danny Boy’s deck.

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from nearby vessels. It just so happens that the future USS Zumwalt was in the area and offered assistance.

Zumwalt launched a small boat crew and transferred the injured captain to the destroyer, where an air crew successfully hoisted the man and transported him to a hospital on land.

“Our main concern with this type of medical emergency is to recover the patient safely and transport them to a higher level care as quickly as possible,” said Lt. David Bourbeau, public affairs officer at Sector Northern New England. “Fortunately the Zumwalt was operating in the area and was able to provide valuable assistance to facilitate a safe hoist evolution for the rescue crew.”

Bravo Zulu Zumwalt!

Until next time,
                                           Fair Winds,
                                              Old Salt

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