Vinson Starts Preps for Leaving Dry Dock

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is scheduled to leave dry dock in May for a pierside location after spending nearly two years in Dry Dock 11 at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. Lt. Cmdr. Chris Majors, Carl Vinson damage control assistant said placing 90,000 tons of metal in water and expecting it to float is no small feat, but the crew of Carl Vinson is teaming up with Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard employees to ensure proper preparations are made for the ship's transition to a pierside location.

“Getting water on the hull again is going to take a lot of preparation and hard work from our crew,” said Majors. Much of that hard work and expertise by the ship's force will come from the Sailors of Carl Vinson's engineering department.

“There are a lot of areas on the ship that need to be checked and proven safe before the flood process takes place,” said Lt. Cmdr. Philip Engle, Carl Vinson auxiliaries officer. Since Carl Vinson entered Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in 2005, the ship's vital systems have been disengaged. The flooding of dry dock will be the first step in bringing the ship back to life, according to Majors. "Watertight integrity is one of the most important concerns," said Majors. "Before any other evolutions are conducted, we need to be sure the ship can float."

But there are other important preparations for an aircraft carrier going afloat for the first time after an extensive dry dock period. “List control tanks help to ensure afloat stability by controlling the ship’s balance, and we're preparing more than 120 of these tanks to keep the ship stable,” Engle said. Damage control is also a concern. Once Carl Vinson transitions to a pierside location, the ship's damage control systems must be operational. “We are concentrating on the ship’s firemain systems, which are almost ready for our transition pierside," said Majors. “The ventilation and drainage systems need to be operable as well in case of flooding.”

As Carl Vinson’s dry dock flooding draws near, the ship's engineering department along with employees from Northrop Grumman Newport News are working diligently to ensure the aircraft carrier is ready for the next phase of Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH). Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle. During RCOH Carl Vinson’s nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship’s services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.

By Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joel Carlson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

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