Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The "LCS-1 Bridge Wing" Incident

When someone from Alion Science and Technology goes looking for something, I figure it's gotta be interesting:

ISP: Alion Science and Technology
State: Maryland
City: Upper Marlboro
Time of Visit
Nov 25 2008 10:56:48 am
Referring URL
Search Engine
Search Words
bridge wing on lcs-1
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From Information Dissemination, here is what happened:

See pictures and post: http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2008/11/bonds-between-sailors-and-ships.html
Also see pictures at: http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2008/11/inside-view-of-bridge-wing.html

"...The locks along the Welland Canal are only 80 ft wide, while the Freedom is 58 ft from bridge wing to bridge wing. The crew was able to get through lock 7 at 2:00pm OK without a problem...

About 4:20pm on Tuesday night, with both the tug and USS Freedom (LCS 1) centerline in lock 6, the lock door opened. As would happen the ship would get pushed back a few meters before getting pulled forward a few meters. The tug Ohio, attempting to maneuver was pushing itself off the wall and jerked the ship to starboard, opposite line side. As it turned out, the lock workers had already pulled the lines for USS Freedom (LCS 1), so she started drifting hard to starboard. In an attempt to compensate, Ohio pulled hard to port, too hard, and with a tight line saved Freedom from a hard hit to starboard, but the pull began pulling Freedom to port. Ohio suddenly found itself in a tough position, lining up directly parallel against the port wall, she was unable to find leverage to push off the wall. Ohio, attempting to find leverage, seemed to increase speed a bit to build some momentum forward. Next thing you know, Freedom, which was doing about 1.5 knots and was centered, was all of sudden accelerating quickly being pulled by Ohio which could not escape from the port wall.

Slowly I could see Freedom accelerating to 4 knots moving down the lock. Freedom was running only about 1 knot of its own power, and was steering to keep itself centered. The port bridge wing began to veer into the now open lock gate, which had some sort of grading system sticking out from the lock door. The Captain, who was calling 'hard starboard' from the bridge wing, quickly recognized the situation, literally pushed me off the bridge wing with a look (I was standing near the door looking out seeing the wall close in while being the curious civilian bystanding idiot), grabbed a fender and tossed it in front of the port bridge wing. Next thing I hear is "BOOM!" The fender caught one of the protruding grates from the door and was smashed open at least 4 knots. The ship jerked quickly pushing to starboard, but the tug was still caught parallel to the port wall of the lock moving at a deliberate pace, and couldn't push itself off the wall.

With the tug still trying to get free and moving at about 4 knots, the ship jerked again as the rope to the tug tightened and pulled Freedom towards the grate on the wall again. I turned to see the Captain, and his face had the look of helplessness as he jumped into the bridge from the bridge wing. Still calling orders to stop the ship, the bridge wing smashed again into the grate. Somehow Captain covered the bridge width in about 10 seconds, grabbed a fender from the starboard bridge wing, and was able to get back to the port bridge wing just in time to prevent a third massive hit, placing the new fender in position to prevent another massive collision between the bridge wing and the last protruding grate of the lock door. That fender exploded too, this time all I saw looking out of the bridge wing door was smoke and the Captain fighting to keep the bridge wing from taking another hit.

The tug, still stuck along the port wall, had reversed engines and stopped the ship just after this moment in what felt like a small jerk from my position of the far left window viewing forward on the starboard side. Captain kept the ship in that position for a minute while organizing new fenders to the bridge, removing some of the debris from the damage, and getting the line loose from the ship and tug. There was about 5 furious minutes of activity as the ship sat still only a few feet off the starboard bridge wing. The tug line was let loose, and the tug was able to work itself free into the middle of the lock before the line was used to reposition the ship in center of the lock. Over the next several minutes the ship advanced into lock 5 at 1 knot before the tug positioned itself for the next lock..."

Good post by Galrahn,
Aloha, Brad

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