USS Fort Worth Returns To Port For Repairs As Commander Relieved For January Propulsion Casualty

The USS Fort Worth is returning to its U.S. port after repairs were needed to its propulsion systems. It was sidelined in Singapore in January and is headed to California under its own power to complete the repairs.

Defense News reported that the littoral combat ship was sidelined after a propulsion accident in January while it was in Singapore. Although preparations have begun for the transit of the ship, it will not leave port to return until June. It will take approximately four to six weeks for the ship to return to the port in San Diego.

Navy leaders have discussed several options for bringing the USS Fort Worth back to its home base. It has been out of operations because its combining gear that connects the ship’s diesel engines to the power shafts was wrecked in the incident in January. Because the wrecked combining gear is unable to engage the diesel engines, it will need to rely on its two Rolls-Royce MT-30 turbines to make the trek across the Pacific Ocean. The cost of bringing the USS Fort Worth back this way is considered extremely uneconomical, and it will require an oil tanker in order to bring it back to San Diego.

Prior to the January 12 incident, the USS Fort Worth was engaged in a successful deployment to Singapore. It began operating in Singapore in November 2014 and was conducting a 16-month deployment that was extended last winter.

In January an accident occurred that was reportedly due to improper maintenance performed on the machinery during pier side maintenance. The investigation into what happened was completed and is being reviewed by higher authorities, although none of the findings of the investigation have been released.

As previously reported in Inquisitr, three men were rescued by the U.S. Navy after they were stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific. During the same period, a petty officer third class on the USS Carter Hall went missing off the coast of North Carolina. The Navy and Coast Guard were working together in a joint operation to find the missing sailor.

USNI News reported that the LCS Crew 101 commanding officer was relieved after the January propulsion casualty on the USS Fort Worth. Commander Michael L. Atwell was relieved of his command of the LCS Crew 101 after the results of the investigation determined he was at fault for the incident.

Lieutenant Clint Ramsden, a Pacific Fleet spokesman, said that there was enough evidence to relieve Atwell from his position as the LCS Crew 101 commander.

“Atwell’s ‘failure to maintain procedural compliance in execution of the maintenance operation was sufficient reason to call into question his ability to lead the ship’s crew.'”

Commander Atwell was a career surface warfare officer with time on frigates, carriers, and destroyers and the executive officer of the LCS Crew 101 prior to being given command of the crew. LCS crews operate under what is called 3-2-1 manning construct where three crews are tasked with supporting two ships. LCS Crew 101 took control of the USS Fort Worth in November.

After he was relieved, Commander Atwell was reassigned to the LCS Squadron 1 in San Diego. He was replaced by Commander Lex Walker, who was previously the deputy commander of the Destroyer Squad 7. Currently the investigation into the accident aboard the USS Fort Worth is ongoing.

[Photo via U.S. Navy]