USS Anchorage LPD 17 Trials Ballast System
Amphibious ship 'Anchorage' had to ballast down the launch deck in 15 minutes & pump space dry again in 45 minutes
The dark waters of the Gulf of Mexico were quickly covered in frothy firefighting foam as they flooded into the well deck of this 25,000-ton ship.
Although the vessel’s rolls were gentle in the heat of a summer evening, the water — looking for all the world like a giant bubble bath — sloshed dramatically back and forth, splashing almost to the full three-deck height of the space. (The unintended presence of foam was accounted for by an earlier system test.)
Watching intently were members of the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, who were looking to see if the brand-new Anchorage could successfully ballast down and flood the deck in 15 minutes or less, then pump the space dry in 45 minutes.
After about an hour of watching the foamy waters rise and then recede in the well deck, Capt. Stephen Mitchell, NAVSEA’s supervisor of shipbuilding on the Gulf Coast, got the word on the test: “They flooded in about 13 minutes, pumped out in a bit over 40. She passed.”
The ballast test was just one of thousands of checks conducted over five days by the INSURV crew to see if Anchorage could pass muster and be accepted as the newest ship in the Navy.