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Divers Assist with USS Denver Repairs

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110602-22

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Supervisor of Salving and Diving (SUPSALV) divers completed repairs on amphibious dock landing ship USS Denver (LPD 9) in Sasebo, Japan, May 14.

Damage was noted to the amphibious ships' port shaft glass-reinforced plastic covering during a routine hull cleaning and inspection by divers in January. Further inspection revealed corrosion to the bare metal exposed in the damaged area.

U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility, Japan Regional Maintenance Center requested SUPSALV divers assist in repairs, which began in late April, and required the complete replacement of the glass-reinforced plastic cover to the entire port propeller shaft.

"This was far longer than any in-water shaft repair ever attempted," said Bill Reid, SUPSALV underwater ship husbandry division director. "All 27 feet of the port shaft were stripped, inspected, groomed, repaired, re-covered with four layers of fiberglass cloth saturated with epoxy resin, and painted."

The in-water repairs were made possible through use of diving habitats which create a dry environment for the divers to conduct repairs.

Yokosuka Ship Repair Facility provided a dog-house type habitat with two ft. and three ft. extensions installed, providing more than 11 feet of interior space. SUPSALV's Emergency Ship Salvage Material (ESSM) facility in Port Hueneme, Calif., provided a second habitat augmented by a two ft. extension for an additional nine feet of workable area. The combination of the two extended habitats allowed two teams to work simultaneously on the repair to complete the full replacement in three weeks which is two weeks faster than would have been possible using one habitat.

"The teamwork exhibited by the three Navy diving commands, ESSM and contracted Phoenix divers, was exceptional," said Justin Pollack, Underwater Ship Husbandry onsite engineer. "It was a very productive three weeks and a good learning experience. SUPSALV will take away valuable information for improving our Underwater Ship Husbandry Manual."

SUPSALV, a directorate of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is responsible for all aspects of ocean engineering, including salvage, in-water ship repair, contracting, towing, diving safety, and equipment maintenance and procurement.

The directorate's Underwater Ship Husbandry division conducts ship repairs worldwide, and in 2010, saved the Navy more than $23 million by conducting waterborne maintenance and repairs on ships which eliminated or delayed the need for costly dry docking while returning ships to the Fleet sooner.

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