US – Navy abandons plan to fix nuclear sub burned in Maine

The repairs were expected to cost $450 million, after a man set fire to it at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 2012.

The Navy has cancelled plans to repair the fire-damaged U.S.S. Miami submarine at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in light of higher-than-anticipated costs and federal budget cuts, officials announced Tuesday.

Smoke rises from a Portsmouth Naval Shipyard dry dock as fire crews respond Wednesday, May 23, 2012 to a fire on the U.S.S Miami nuclear submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on an island in Kittery, N.H in 2012. 

The Navy has cancelled plans to repair the fire-damaged U.S.S. Miami submarine at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in light of higher-than-anticipated costs and federal budget cuts, officials announced Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Above, a 2004 photo of the sub in Groton, Conn.

The Navy estimated it would take an additional $390 million in Fiscal Year 2014 to repair the Miami, a nuclear-powered submarine severely damaged at the Maine shipyard in 2012. As a result, the submarine will be permanently removed from service and the repair money diverted elsewhere.

“The decision to inactivate Miami is a difficult one, taken after hard analysis and not made lightly,” Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, director of Undersea Warfare with the Navy, said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“We will lose the five deployments that Miami would have provided over the remaining 10 years of her planned service life, but in exchange for avoiding the cost of repairs, we will open up funds to support other vital maintenance efforts, improving the wholeness and readiness of the fleet.”

The decision will likely come as a blow to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, one of four public shipyards operated by the Navy. Located in Kittery, the shipyard employs roughly 4,700 civilian workers.

The repairs were expected to cost approximately $450 million and continue into the spring of 2015. The man who set fire to the sub, 25-year-old Casey James Fury, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay $400 million in restitution last month.

Fury wanted to get out early from work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard when he set the fire.

“This was the worst fire I’ve ever seen,” said Eric Hardy, a firefighter at the shipyardsaid. “If it weren’t for sheer luck, we would have had a death on that boat.”

Prosecutors said 50 people were aboard the submarine when the fire started, and five firefighters were injured fighting the blaze throughout the night.

Source – Portland Press Herald

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