Tag Archives: USS Miami

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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Shipyard worker who set fire to nuclear submarine sentenced to 17 years in jail

25-year-old Casey Fury pleaded guilty to setting fire to US military submarine USS Miami because he wanted to go home

Casey Fury Us military submarineA shipyard worker who set fire to rags aboard a nuclear submarine because he wanted to go home was sentenced to 17 years in jail on Friday for the blaze that transformed the vessel into a fiery furnace, injured seven people and caused $450m in damage.

Casey James Fury, pictured, also was ordered to pay $400m in restitution.

The judge imposed the sentence under a plea agreement that limited his time in prison to roughly 15 to 19 years for arson.

The 25-year-old Fury, formerly of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to setting the May 23 fire while the submarine was undergoing a 20-month dry dock overhaul at Portsmouth naval shipyard in Kittery.

The civilian painter and sand blaster told authorities that he needed to go home because he was suffering from an anxiety attack and had no more vacation or sick leave. He said he never envisioned such extensive damage when he used a lighter to set fire to a plastic bag of rags that he left on a bunk in a state room.

The blaze quickly grew into an inferno spewing superheated smoke that billowed from hatches. It took 12 hours for more than 100 firefighters to save the submarine.

Seven people were hurt, the US Navy has said.

Fury, who had been working in the torpedo room, fled to the safety of the pier and watched as firefighters went down hatches and into the burning Los Angeles class-attack submarine, staying inside for only minutes at a time because of the blistering heat.

About three weeks later, Fury set a second fire outside the crippled sub, again because he wanted to go home because of anxiety. That fire caused little damage. He pleaded guilty to two counts of arson in November.

Prosecutors said it was telling that he tried to set a second fire after the extensive damage caused by the first one.

But the defense contends Fury suffered from depression and anxiety and that he never intended to harm anyone.

The first blaze damaged forward compartments including living quarters, a command and control center and the torpedo room. It did not reach the rear of the submarine, where the nuclear propulsion components are located.

The fire’s intensity raised concerns about the integrity of the hull, which must withstand intense pressure at extreme underwater depths. Metallurgists who examined the hull found no major damage and the Navy determined it was cost-effective to repair the vessel with a goal of returning it to service in the middle of 2015.

But its future is now uncertain. Repairs have been postponed under mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration.

Source – Guardian

Worker who set fire to USS Miami submarine to be sentenced today

Submarine Fire1.jpg

Casey Fury is seen in a file booking photo provided by the Dover, N.H., Police Department .

The man who set fire to USS Miami has a long and debilitating history of anxiety and depression, was homeless for a while as a child and is a “passionate, gentle and caring individual,” according to his defenders.

For these reasons, his attorney wrote in court documents, former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard worker Casey Fury should get 15 years, eight months in prison instead of the 19 years recommended by the U.S. attorney.

Fury, 26, of Portsmouth, N.H., will be in U.S. District Court in Portland today to be sentenced for setting fire to USS Miami at the shipyard in May 2012, causing $450 million in damage. Several weeks later, he set a second fire outside the nuclear submarine.

Fury pleaded guilty to those charges last November. Under the plea deal, Fury agreed to a sentence of between 15 years, eight months and 19 years. The maximum sentence for the crimes is life in prison.

In seeking the 19-year sentence, federal prosecutor Darcie McElwee wrote in her pre-sentence report that Fury’s “intentional fire setting on and around a nuclear submarine was beyond reckless. Frankly, as the court is aware from its view of the Miami, this fire easily could have been fatal.”

Fury said he set the two fires because wanted to leave work early. Defense attorney David Beneman contended Fury was in the throes of depression and was not thinking clearly. McElwee wrote that Fury’s actions were deliberate and precipitated on the fact that he had no more sick or vacation time left.

In his 15-page pre-sentence report, Beneman painted a picture of a troubled young man whose parents divorced when he was 4. As a third-grader, he was homeless for a period after his mother and a boyfriend broke up, Beneman wrote.

At the time of the fires, he wrote, Fury was not getting sufficient benefit from his medications for anxiety, depression and panic attacks. “He never intended for anyone to be hurt or for the first fire to result in the amount of damage it did,” Beneman wrote. “On the dates of the two fires, he suffered from anxiety attacks and ‘just freaked out.'”

The attorney said that several days after his client set the second fire, Fury checked himself into Portsmouth Regional Hospital for mental health treatment. “He was anxious, depressed and having ‘passive suicidal ideation,'” Beneman wrote. After the hospital changed his medication, Fury “reported an immediate change.”

Beneman said his client accepts full responsibility for his actions. In the first Miami blaze, Fury set a rag on fire and placed it on the top bed of one of the state rooms in the mid-level of the submarine. Beneman said tests conducted afterward established that the fire spread rapidly due to the enamel paint on the walls and ceilings “that provided fuel for the fire to expand.”

He said the judge should take into consideration the fact that Fury did not intend for the fire to spread as it did. “Casey lacks coping skills” and shows “hasty and poorly thought out decision making,” the attorney said. “At the same time, he does not display criminal thinking, nor attributes of an arsonist.”

McElwee painted a decidedly different picture of Fury. She wrote that while “the government appreciates” the USS Miami fire might have been set “simply to create a distraction,” Fury escaped the sub and “watched while others risked their lives to battle the fire; all while he stood safely on the pier.” The second fire, she wrote, “demonstrates the true disregard the defendant has for others” because he knew what happened in the first instance, but set a second fire nonetheless.

Fury, she said, “concluded that his personal desires were worth more than the safety of all the people with whom he worked … and more than the property of the United States Navy.” McElwee said the “ripple of consequences” of the USS Miami fire is far reaching. “The damage to Miami and its removal from the fleet, whether temporary or permanent, will continue to affect the United States Navy for years to come,” she wrote.

The Miami has remained at the shipyard since the fire, and money had been found in the Navy budget and appropriated by Congress to repair it. However, that work is uncertain in the wake of recent automatic federal budget cuts. McElwee wrote, “it is anticipated that other submarines will have to go to sea and deploy for more time to account for the absence of the Miami” — time that sailors will not be spending with their families.

Both the defense and the prosecution have the right to withdraw the plea agreement if the court imposes a substantially higher or lower sentence at the hearing today.

Source – Sea Coast online

US – Sequestration Could Jeopardize Two Contracts For EB, Second Submarine

‘This is a very serious impasse that could really put a cloud over EB’s projected hiring,’ Congressman Joe Courtney says. But he adds that Congress still has time to fix the impasse.

Welding on the hull of the Mississippi in Building 260, Groton. Credit Electric Boat photography department

Welding on the hull of the Mississippi in Building 260, Groton. Credit Electric Boat photography department

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said the federal cuts slated to go into effect under sequestration would affect shipyards across the country, including Electric Boat in Groton.

Sequestration – or $1.2 trillion in cuts – are slated to go into effect March 1. Half the cuts would come from the defense industry.

Electric Boat has two contracts with the Navy – one a $94 million contract to repair the USS Miami, the Groton-built nuclear submarine that caught fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard May 23; and the second a $34.9 million contract to work on the USS Providence, which was scheduled to come into Groton later this year.

Both could be suspended if sequestration occurs.

“This is a very serious impasse that could really put a cloud over EB’s projected hiring,” Courney said, referring to the optimistic picture painted by the company during a legislative breakfast in January.

“But Congress still has time to fix the impasse and allow the great work that people do there to go forward. The leadership of the Navy, over and over again, repeated their desire to have this work move forward in Groton. But their hands are tired until Congress and the White House come to an agreement,” he said.

According to the Electric Boat website, repairs to the USS Miami would involve 300 EB employees.

Electric Boat has declined comment on the potential impacts.

“The Department of Defense has not informed us how it intends to implement sequestration, if it occurs. Consequently, any response on our part would be speculative,” Spokesman Dan Barrett said in an e-mail.

Courtney said that in addition to the repair contracts that could be placed on hold, Congress last year got a defense bill through that provided funding for a second submarine to be built in 2014. But he said Congress does not have a budget bill passed to go with that defense bill, The current spending bill ends March 27.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, who testified last week before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, said that if the Navy did not get a spending bill to match the defense bill, the second submarine would be at risk.

Electric Boat is meanwhile proceeding with the Ohio replacement program, which deals with a different class of submarines. As of Monday, the company was still hiring engineers and other positions.

“There’s still time to stop the madness here, and that’s true,” Courtney said. “It’s not like the law takes away the money irrevocably in one day.” He said sequestration was designed to be completely unacceptable but cutting indiscriminately across all areas, thereby forcing a compromise.

“And hopefully,” he said, “as in the past with sequestration, cooler heads will prevail.”

Source – Groton Patch

 

Navy to Congress: No budget, no second submarine in 2014

USS Providence (SSN – 719)

Service releases plan in face of looming, automatic budget cuts.

If Congress doesn’t pass a budget this fiscal year, the Navy said it likely would not purchase a second Virginia-class submarine in 2014.

The Navy released its latest plan to Congress on Tuesday for how it will be affected if the government keeps operating on a continuing resolution that funds spending at last year’s levels, and if Congress does not act before March 1 to prevent the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

The continuing resolution expires March 27, and Congress could extend it for the rest of the fiscal year.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the House Armed Services Committee created and passed a plan that authorized two submarines in 2014.

“Now it is incumbent on congressional appropriators to work with us to get the rest of the way there,” he said. “The House’s plate is full and time is running out to act. That is why last week I voted against Speaker Boehner’s motion to adjourn, shutting down the House for 10 days that would be better used tackling these issues, supporting our critical defense priorities, and protecting our economy.”

The Navy told Congress last month it would cancel a $45 million repair job on the USS Providence (SSN 719) at Electric Boat and two demolition projects involving three older buildings at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton unless Congress agreed on a new budget. And if sequestration occurs, the Navy said, it would delay repairs to the Groton-based USS Miami and cancel several ship deployments.

At that time, the Navy did not say the second submarine in 2014 was in jeopardy. A Navy spokeswoman said Tuesday’s update provides a higher level of detail.

EB in Groton and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia jointly build two attack submarines per year. The plans for two submarines in 2013 are not expected to change.

Source – The Day