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USS Bonhomme Richard on fire

brihard

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Given that this is believed to have started in a deep cargo hold and flames came all the ay up through the superstructure, probably the inside is mostly gutted. The fact that it burned hot enough for the mast to collapse is suggestive of structural weakening.

Hope the yard’s got good insurance...
 

Navy_Pete

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Brihard said:
Given that this is believed to have started in a deep cargo hold and flames came all the ay up through the superstructure, probably the inside is mostly gutted. The fact that it burned hot enough for the mast to collapse is suggestive of structural weakening.

Hope the yard’s got good insurance...

Usually insurance is capped at a max value, as the customer pays it as part of the work anyway. We have a max cap around 40 or 50 million and self insure for anything beyond that; that's a standard clause/value for overhaul work that I think applies across the GoC. It's not cheap, but a full value insurance policy would cost more then the DWP.

I think it's at Naval base San Diego though, and believe it was undergoing an alongside work period by the dockyard. From what I understand, it's their giant equivalent to our FMFs under NAVSEA that does that for them.

Still burning though; at this point would be a win if they can keep the fuel from lighting off/spilling into the bay and get the fire out.  Just crazy.
 

OldSolduer

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tomahawk6 said:
At least the ship isnt nuclear powered or they might be dumping concrete.

One question: Will this ship be a total write off?

OK two questions - What type of ship is this? Infantry here.....  [:-[
 

tomahawk6

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Somehow the fire suppresion system was turned off so that may help the insurance company.
 

SeaKingTacco

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tomahawk6 said:
Somehow the fire suppresion system was turned off so that may help the insurance company.

I was turned off, because it was being worked on.  It is hard to say at this point if there is any contractor culpability. BHR was in USN custody, at a USN base, conducting work under the supervision of NAVSEA.  Now, maybe a contractor screwed up, but no way is anybody but the US taxpayer paying for a 4 billion dollar ship.

And, in my opinion, she is done like dinner.  Cheaper to build new. Which they might not even have to, given the pivot in role the USMC is undergoing right now.
 

daftandbarmy

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SeaKingTacco said:
I was turned off, because it was being worked on.  It is hard to say at this point if there is any contractor culpability. BHR was in USN custody, at a USN base, conducting work under the supervision of NAVSEA.  Now, maybe a contractor screwed up, but no way is anybody but the US taxpayer paying for a 4 billion dollar ship.

And, in my opinion, she is done like dinner.  Cheaper to build new. Which they might not even have to, given the pivot in role the USMC is undergoing right now.

Speaking as a self-interested scuba diver, would it be too soon for these guys to give them a call? :)

ARTIFICIAL REEF SOCIETY OF BC​
CREATING STABLE LONG TERM MARINE HABITATS

https://artificialreefsocietybc.ca/index.html

 

Navy_Pete

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daftandbarmy said:
Speaking as a self-interested scuba diver, would it be too soon for these guys to give them a call? :)

ARTIFICIAL REEF SOCIETY OF BC​
CREATING STABLE LONG TERM MARINE HABITATS

https://artificialreefsocietybc.ca/index.html

lol, good luck. Prepping the ship for an artificial reef means total environmental scrub down and costs a fortune. All kinds of weird stuff happens in fire chemistry, especially when so many things are burning together, it will be a huge hazmat cleanup. Plus, ITAR.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Navy_Pete said:
lol, good luck. Prepping the ship for an artificial reef means total environmental scrub down and costs a fortune. All kinds of weird stuff happens in fire chemistry, especially when so many things are burning together, it will be a huge hazmat cleanup. Plus, ITAR.

Depends on the era, the navy when they sell a ship for scrap, have to certify it as PCB free, on the DDE, that means all the wiring had to go and then certain types of insulation. The good news is that asbestos is not considered a hazard underwater, so asbestos panels can be secured into an compartment or tank and sunk with the ship. That saves a lot of money. The PCB and asbestos would be an issue even if you scrap the ship. The ITAR stuff would likely be removed prior to sale. You are correct that after the fire it would be impossible to met the environmental standards though. However the navy can get around that by sinking her as a target with a somewhat less stringent standard. 
 

Underway

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tomahawk6 said:
Somehow the fire suppresion system was turned off so that may help the insurance company.

Its not a conspiracy or an error.  When a ship is undergoing work such as grinding or welding you turn off the fire suppression and detection systems.  This is because the heat of the grinding/welding will set them off in or near the space you are working on.  Alarms going off or halon just randomly discharging is exceedingly irritating if not unsafe.

RCN policy is that when there is hot work you also have a fire sentry with an extinguisher on guard, and perhaps a charged hose ready.  Plenty of fire sentries have put out minor paint fires due to heat.

As for how can a fire get that hot without combustables.  It can't but a ship is full of combustables despite our best efforts.  At 1000 degree F many things burn: copper electrical cables, paint, beds, blankets, printers, paper, desks, staplers, potato chips, clothes, fuel lines, fibre optics, grease on doors, fittings, anything with a battery explodes, rubber, keyboards, fire hoses, the deck coating on the vehicle decks is probably non-slip and combustible at a high temp  etc...

Then add to that its an enclosed space where the heat gets trapped...

The fire on HMCS Toronto last year was put out fairly quickly but caused structural concerns to the uptake floor that needed repair (no visible damage but the RCN wasn't going to take the risk).  The few aluminum tools in the uptake were melted, the bronze refulling bell was melted and all the paint and wiring were gone.  The fuel spill soak pads were of course burnt.  And that was put out fairly quickly by the duty watch (proper overhaul required the fire dept and adjacent ship help).  When they start to burn, it can get nasty very quickly.
 

SeaKingTacco

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During the PRO fire, I am told, the fire got so hot that the glass melted out of the gauges in the engine room.  Fire on a ship is no joke.
 

Navy_Pete

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SeaKingTacco said:
During the PRO fire, I am told, the fire got so hot that the glass melted out of the gauges in the engine room.  Fire on a ship is no joke.

There was some steel decking that burned through and girders that warped, but paper on a bench right under the fire along the ceiling was fine. For context, that wasn't considered a 'fully involved' space  fire, and still wrote off a ship.

This one appears to have multiple compartments fully involved (basically all fuel sources burning). Will be interesting to read the reports; the USN is excellent at putting out detailed public reports on these kind of incidents, and learn a lot from them.
 

Navy_Pete

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Colin P said:
Depends on the era, the navy when they sell a ship for scrap, have to certify it as PCB free, on the DDE, that means all the wiring had to go and then certain types of insulation. The good news is that asbestos is not considered a hazard underwater, so asbestos panels can be secured into an compartment or tank and sunk with the ship. That saves a lot of money. The PCB and asbestos would be an issue even if you scrap the ship. The ITAR stuff would likely be removed prior to sale. You are correct that after the fire it would be impossible to met the environmental standards though. However the navy can get around that by sinking her as a target with a somewhat less stringent standard.

On our end the environmental standards for a target are comparable to a reef. For example the fuel lines and tanks on Huron were emptied and steam cleaned, and in general the POLs were removed as much as practicable.

It's surprising what stuff gets labeled as ITAR; in lots of cases it's commercially avaiblable, but as soon as it gets catalogued and given an NSN it can become ITAR if the classification rolls down from the system it's used on. Have seen all kinds of bolts and other fasteners and other weird things labeled as ITAR and had to be demilitarized as a result. There is a process to get the classification changed, but is heavily bureaucratic and can take years. Usually by the time that we get rid of it, it's so far behind the current technology it doesn't actually matter, but is faster/cheaper to just destroy it then try and push the staff work required to get it declared non-ITAR (which they likely will tell us to pound sand anyway).

Other bits can be integral to the ship (like the shaft seals), and cataloging, removing and demilitarizing them can be a lot of expensive work. That's a big part of the reason that we stopped giving ships to reef societies/museums. It costs too much, and we've been bitten a few too many times with rusting hulks that we had to take back. It's reasonably more cost efficient to do it as part of the ship breaking process, where whole components are removed and run through a big metal shredder, but is all tracked down to individual NSNs line by line.
 
S

stellarpanther

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Would all of the weapons (bombs, missiles etc) have been removed or do they just assign people to guard them while the contractors are onboard doing their job?  If so is there a risk of them exploding causing real damage to the base?
 

dapaterson

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Normally, the magazines would be empty when a ship is undergoing a lengthy refit.

As well, some explosives will burn, not explode, when exposed to high heat.
 

Underway

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stellarpanther said:
Would all of the weapons (bombs, missiles etc) have been removed or do they just assign people to guard them while the contractors are onboard doing their job?  If so is there a risk of them exploding causing real damage to the base?

It depends.  It wouldn't be the first time that a ship had some refit work done while still carrying ammunition.  But thats a case by case basis.  If the work was being done far from a magazine then they might not have de-ammo'd.  I don't know the US policies for a ship like this.

Assuming the magazines could be locked then no guard would be required.  Also magazines can be flooded in case of a fire nearby.  In this case it likely won't explode.  Missiles/torps are a bit different as they carry very energetic fuel which is much more dangerous in a fire then their warhead would be (as modern explosives are electrically activated and generally burn in a fire vice explode).

dapaterson said:
Normally, the magazines would be empty when a ship is undergoing a lengthy refit.

As well, some explosives will burn, not explode, when exposed to high heat.

Curses, ninja'd...
 

NavyShooter

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I think the words you're seeking are "Detonation" vs "Deflagration". 

Detonation means a rather energetic release resulting in an Earth Shattering Kaboom.

Deflagration means a rather energetic release, but at a slower rate of expansion resulting in a really big plume of really hot fire.

The class of the ammunition has an impact on this - ammo is broken down into 4 main classes - 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and, 1.4.

There are sub-classes within those (1.4S) denoting specific characteristics, however, the only munitions that I would think they'd leave onboard during a refit such as this would be small arms ammunition, and possibly some pyrotechnics such as flares and such.  These fall into 1.3 and 1.4 classes. 

1.1 and 1.2 is the real energetic stuff - the "High" explosives that we enjoy watching go boom.

I do not have any knowledge about what the capacity of one of these ships is, but I can imagine that it is an order of magnitude larger than what we carry on our ships, particularly since it's a ship designed to support troops going ashore, plus helicopters and aircraft dropping bombs, firing missiles and guns.  If the ship was fully loaded with HE, they'd be either fighting the fire madly, trying to get to the magazines before they blew, or, evacuating blocks of space.


Consider.  Here's a 'guess' at what a single magazine might contain:


500 lb bomb x 200
Sidewinder missile x 50
Hellfire missile x 500
20mm HE ammo x 50,000


The Net Explosive Quantity on these items would be:
87 Kg x 200 = 17,400 Kg
9.4 Kg x 50 = 470 Kg
8.2 Kg x 500 = 4,100 Kg
0.010 Kg x 50,000 = 500 Kg


That's a total NEQ of 22,470 Kg. 


https://www.un.org/disarmament/un-saferguard/explosion-danger-area/


Plugging that in, the MINIMUM distance to clear the public from is 2,359 meters...so they'd be clearing a pretty large space of the town for this one magazine example....and a fully loaded warship designed to support ground and air elements would have a lot more than that. 


If the ship was loaded up with ammo, they'd be clearing the area for literally miles in case it blew up.


The good news is that some of the ammo would 'only' burn - rather than detonate.  It would depend considerably upon the type of ammo though, and what it's being exposed to.  Once something goes 'high order', the shockwave would likely cause sympathetic detonations amongst ordnance that was destabilized.


Or something like that.


From my perspective, having been a magazine custodian for a ship - they are not treating this like they would a ship that had magazines full of HE.


NS




 

dapaterson

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See also: December 6, 1917.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Explosion
 

Blackadder1916

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https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a33298675/bonhomme-richard-navy-ship-fire-san-diego/
The Navy also says no munitions are stored aboard the ship, although small arms ammunition is present.


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