Land Ho! Naval Ship Runs Aground

The navy is trying to free a missile cruiser that ran aground in Hawaii

An attempt to pull a $1 billion warship free after it ran aground off the coast of Honolulu was unsuccessful Saturday, but the Navy planned to try again after lightening the vessel’s weight.

Navy tugboats and a salvage ship, the USS Salvor, tried to tow out the USS Port Royal at high tide early Saturday, but the guided missile cruiser remained stuck on the sandy, rocky bottom, said Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Agnes Tanyan.

Navy officials now plan to remove the ship’s fuel and water supplies in an effort to lighten the vessel and make it easier to refloat, she said.

Tanyan said the time of the next attempt had not been determined.

The crew remained on board.

The 9,600-ton warship ran aground Thursday night about a half-mile offshore from Honolulu International Airport. It was on its first sea trials after finishing routine maintenance in dry dock.

The ship, which is based at Pearl Harbor and has a crew of 320, got stuck as it was transferring shore-based officials, including a rear admiral, to a smaller boat to take them to shore.

An oil-recovery vessel, the Clean Islands, was positioned behind the warship as a precaution but no oil leak had been detected, Coast Guard Lt. John Titchen said.

The cause of the grounding and the extent of damage to the vessel were under investigation.

Commissioned in 1994, the Port Royal has a crew of about 360. The crew stayed aboard the ship, along with Navy officials such as Rear Adm. Dixon R. Smith, commander Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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