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Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Engineering and Planning Department supports upcoming USS Essex availability

By Michael Brayshaw, NNSY Lead Public Affairs Specialist | June 17, 2020

NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —

From Mayport, Florida to San Diego, California, Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Engineering and Planning Department (Code 200) has been setting the standard for how to support integrated shipchecks while effectively managing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Having demonstrated how an integrated shipcheck can be performed capitalizing on teleworking and technology last month on USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) in Mayport, NNSY’s Planning Yard personnel are now using many of the same lessons to support one on USS Essex (LHD-2) at Naval Base San Diego.  The new practices in place are saving time, reducing the number of personnel on travel and required to undergo Restriction of Movement (ROM), as well as helping to minimize any potential spread of COVID-19.

NNSY’s Planning Yard supports integrated shipchecks on all existing L-decks.  Shipchecks provide vital information for the development of Ship Installation Drawings (SIDs), which in this instance will be supporting ship alterations during Essex’s upcoming Drydock Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA).  Coordinating this shipcheck required NNSY coordinating with a multitude of naval partners, including NAVSEA’s Surface Ship Modernization Program Office (PMS 407), Naval Surface Force Pacific (COMNAVSURPAC), Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC), USS Essex and the assigned contractor.   

NNSY is supporting work on Essex using 52 engineers and technicians, some of whom were able to telework during their ROM period.  Further reducing the impact of this ROM period on both cost and schedule, NNSY worked with the contractor to leverage the available San Diego workforce, thus reducing the number of NNSY’s shipcheck team members needed on site by more than 50 percent. “Teaming between these entities had both a spirit of collaboration and sense of urgency, as coordination and execution of this hybrid approach extended the time period available to perform the shipcheck and reduced the overall cost,” said Gil Vieira, Code 280 Planning Yard Division Head.      

To minimize any potential spread of the virus while maximizing the mission of supporting work onboard, NNSY provided the ship with a COVID-19 mitigation plan while adhering to all Navy guidance for personnel on travel and working aboard ships.  “Shipcheck team members wear personal protective equipment, have sanitizing stations onboard the ship, follow bubble-to-bubble protocol travelling individually to and from lodging or residence, conduct daily health screening checks and sanitize working areas onboard the ship,” said Vieira.  “Code 200 is committed to continue to support the fleet while protecting the well-being of its employees, DoD contractors, and ship’s force.”

NAVSEA Commander Vice Admiral Tom Moore commended the ongoing efforts by NNSY’s Planning Yard to ensure personnel safety and health while finding innovative ways to meet the mission when performing integrated shipchecks from coast to coast.   “Norfolk Naval Shipyard's Engineering and Planning Department is really taking ‘maximize mission, minimize spread’ to heart!” he said.