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Kearsarge Sailors Raise the Chain

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090916-14
Release Date: 9/16/2009 3:44:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Emmitt Hawks

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) recently re-installed the ship's anchor chains, after an extensive inspection and refurbishment.

Chain rehabilitation and inspection is initiated every 12 years.

"This is another milestone observed during our maintenance period here at NNSY (Norfolk Naval Shipyard)," said Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW/AW) Daniel Chavez, dry dock observer during the chain re-installation process. "Chain rehabilitation and inspection is initiated every 140 months or 12 years."

During the inspection and refurbishment process, anchor chains and appendages are examined for cracks, excessive wear, distortion or other defects. Parts that require re-surfacing are painted with a coating that protects them from the harsh elements of the sea. The chains are 1,170 feet long and weigh 156,000 pounds each.

"The anchor chain links and serial numbers must be carefully inspected and documented to ensure the refurbished links belong to the ship," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Apprentice Tyesha Ervin, a Sailor from Deck department who was inspecting and cataloging the serial numbers off the chain links. "It makes for a hard day, but these steps are necessary to ensure the links are in good order and fit accordingly."

The chains are laid out in front of the ship in a specific order that is color coded in respect to its position along the length of the chain. The color coding system is used to identify the various shots so that when the ship is anchored, you can tell from on deck visually how much chain is paid out and under water.

The bitter end known as the danger shot, which each link is color coded red and represents the last portion of the chain length, is hoisted in first through the hawse pipe, the opening located at the front of a ship on the left and right side, and then routed through the ship's forecastle into the anchor chain storage room. The warning shot, which each link is color coded yellow, is the next to the last portion of chain.

"This is a very dangerous process," said Chavez. "Raising the anchor chain up into the forecastle then down to the anchor storage room requires team work, special attention to detail, and following orders to the letter. One mistake may cause a major mishap, but our Sailors from the Deck department are aware of the danger, adhere to safety procedures, and are committed to their trade."

Kearsarge is temporarily stationed at Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an 11-month maintenance period.

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