Foresight Prevents Emergent Docking
By LT Tim Ledbetter, PHNSY & IMF FMB Deputy Project Superintendent
A bit of foresight a year ago by CAPT Jonathan Iverson, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) Operations Officer, and CAPT (Select) Daniel Prince, former Commanding Officer, USS Chicago (SSN 721), prevented an emergent docking of the submarine in October 2002. Not having to dry-dock, the submarine saved the Shipyard over 420 mandays of labor, or roughly $120,000. In addition, Chicago's operational schedule was not impacted.
The submarine entered Dry Dock 1 on Oct. 11, 2001, for scheduled maintenance. A special augmentation system was also installed while the Chicago was up on the blocks. During a tour of the dry dock basin, Iverson and Prince were inspecting the new system and started discussing the feasibility of waterborne cable replacement in the Main Ballast Tanks (MBT). Waterborne cable replacement is frequently performed pierside at Fleet Maintenance Availability Project -- Submarines (FMB). MBT grate patches are used to allow access from topside, greatly reducing the need to dock submarines for emergent repairs. Since this traditional method would no longer work with the new system installed, the decision was made to manufacture MBT cofferdams to support waterborne cable replacement and repairs.
FMB Engineering and Planning went to work. The task of planning the manufacture of these cofferdams was assigned and with the help of Code 250's personnel, the cofferdams were designed and paper was issued for their production.
Codes 920 and 940 commenced the monumental task of fabricating the new cofferdams, bridle blow manifolds and covers.
Approximately one year later, just prior to a scheduled trial fit-up of the cofferdams, Chicago reported that a weapons control cable had failed during testing. Code 740 riggers sprung into action and installed the cofferdams. They fit on the first try, producing a watertight seal.
Now it was Code 950's turn. Shop 67 personnel rapidly changed out the damaged cable. Simultaneous repairs were performed to an electrical hull fitting that was discovered to have failed after the cofferdams were in place.
Without the cofferdams, either of these two jobs would have required the submarine to be docked. Repairs were expeditiously completed and Chicago was allowed to meet critical underway training commitments.
Once again, the PHNSY and IMF team led the way in creating innovative procedures and processes to conduct waterborne maintenance. The cost of an emergent dry-docking and impact on the ship's schedule were avoided. In addition, the flyaway kit is nearing completion and will soon be ready to be dispatched on a moment's notice to support emergent repairs for the Atlantic and Pacific submarine forces.
Congratulations to all of the individuals who contributed to this successful endeavor on a job well done.With your help, "We Keep Them Fit to Fight."
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