USS Bonhomme Richard Burns
A massive fire, likely due to indolent fire safety practices during dock maintenance, destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on Sunday, one of 10 large amphibious assault ships in America. These ships aim to be an integral part of maintaining the line against a rising China, and the seemingly potential loss of billions of dollars from this ship will be felt throughout the fleet.
The fire, which was reported on Sunday around 8:30 a.m., was still burning after 7 a.m. and could burn for some time. The vessel, which was undergoing maintenance in San Diego, had approximately 160 sailors on board at the time of the accident. 18 were reportedly sent to hospital for life-threatening injuries.
While the extent of the damage was unknown, the fire was severe enough to buckle the structural steel and melt the tires of vehicles parked on the surface of the aircraft. Given the extent of the damage, the vessel will, at least, be out of service for years and may be written off as a complete loss.
Ship, United States. The Navy said Bonhomme Richard had docked at the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego when a fire was reported at 8:30 a.m. in a low-freight warehouse used to store vehicles.
It was not immediately known what caused the fire or explosion. As of Monday morning, the flames were still burning and extracts from local news showed black smoke escaping from the ship. Surface naval forces said on Twitter that two helicopters had joined the firefighting efforts.
About 160 sailors were on board at the time, according to the Navy, which said 34 sailors and 23 civilians were injured. The injuries were not fatal and included heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. The Navy said the entire crew had been identified and that five hospital sailors had remained in stable condition.
Rear Admiral Philip E. Sobek said at a press conference on Sunday evening that military and civilian firefighters were still trying to save the ship.
By investigating the cause of the fire, we already know that shipyard fires are a serious problem for the U.S. Navy today. Many fires have broken out on U.S. Navy ships that have been undergoing maintenance for the past few months, and instead of making changes, the U.S. Navy seems to have chosen to ignore the problem, happier to rejoice and to lead the fingers as shipyard fires nearly sank Russian admiral Kuznetsov in 2019 and one of the new large Chinese 075 amphibious ships earlier this year. The inability of the U.S. Navy to act – even after several warnings and close calls – is inexplicable and unjustifiable.
reported by nytimes