The May 23 fire that gutted the fore end of the attack submarine 'USS Miami' started in a vacuum cleaner used by drydock workers says Navy
The fire, which burned for nearly 10 hours, caused damage that will take at least $400 million to fix, said Deb White, spokeswoman for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The 22-year-old sub was about two months into a scheduled 18-month engineering overhaul at the shipyard.
“Specific details as to the cause and subsequent damage assessment are still being evaluated as part of on-going investigations and will be released at a later date,” White said in a statement.
Navy officials said the fire did not endanger the sub’s nuclear reactor. But the damage was so extensive that officials are considering whether to decommission the Miami, making it the first submarine and the first nuclear ship lost through a U.S. shipyard accident. The sub is currently scheduled to be decommissioned in 2020.
The loss of the Miami would be a blow to the Navy’s submarine fleet at a time when the service’s plans to slow construction of new attack boats has come under fire from some in Congress.