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USS NEW YORK Deploys on Time After Emergent Blade Repair

By SERMC Public Affairs | SERMC | Feb. 4, 2015

MAYPORT Florida —

MAYPORT Florida. -- The Dive Locker at Southeast Regional Maintenance Center in Mayport accomplished a first-ever waterborne repair on one of USS NEW YORK’s (LPD 21) propeller blades, enabling the ship to deploy on time with the IWO JIMA Amphibious Ready Group Dec. 11.

            During a routine underwater hull cleaning in mid-November, one blade attachment bolt was found to be backed out.  The bolt is one of 80 bolts that attaches controllable-pitch propeller blades to the main propeller hub.  The 10-inch, 30-pound bolt was dangerously close to falling off. 

            Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sean Bryans, Diving Officer at SERMC, said maintenance teams from SERMC and Naval Sea Systems Command rushed to develop procedures to replace the bolt without pulling the ship out of the water.  Propeller blades are routinely removed from the hub while the ship is in the water for other ship classes, but never before on a SAN ANTONIO class LPD ship. 

In addition to replacing the loose bolt, all eight bolts that hold that blade to the propeller hub were removed and replaced to conform to strict engineering specifications and to ensure the ship would be ready for the high tempo of a full deployment.  In fact, all 80 bolts on both propellers were inspected to ensure proper condition and torque. Any bolts not meeting standards were replaced.

            “We tested the bolts in our Non-Destructive Testing lab,” said Navy Diver First Class Edward Briggs, SERMC’s diving supervisor.  “The ones that failed had to be replaced.”

            Briggs said the bolts are torqued using specialized hydraulic tools that “stretch” the bolts as they are tightened and the stretch must fall within specs as well as torque.  These tools did not exist to perform a waterborne repair prior to this effort.

            “Working with the shipbuilders, SERMC fabricated some new sockets and tools so we could work underwater and get accurate measurements on torqueing,” said Senior Chief Navy Diver Ashley Gossett, SERMC’s master diver.

            Gossett said that with NEW YORK’s departure date looming only a few weeks away, a dry dock repair was never a consideration.  The cost in time and money prohibited such an evolution.

            The cost to dry dock a ship can approach more than $1 million and takes several weeks to execute.

            SERMC’s Dive Locker worked for seven days and totaled more than 600 man hours, including 21 hours in the water .

            “The Dive Locker has supported the ARG since their arrival last summer,” Bryans said of the three-ship homeport change.  “This should give the other ships here the confidence that we can handle any job.”