- Christening marred by tugboat collision
- Navy investigates communication breakdown
- Latest incident in problematic LCS program
Just when you thought the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) saga couldn't get any more awkward, the USS Cleveland (LCS-31) decides to make an unforgettable splash! During its recent christening, the ship collided with a tugboat in front of 3,000 people, including media members, leaving the brand-new vessel with some damage.
The Navy's response? "No personnel injuries occurred, but there was limited damage." Good news, the damage is above the waterline, so no flooding occurred. But seriously, how did this happen?
Well, Mrs. Robyn Modly, wife of former Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly, broke the ceremonial bottle of sparkling wine over the bow. Then, using a side-launch process, the tugboat William C. Gaynor pulled the Cleveland into the Menominee River. That's when things went awry: the LCS hit the tugboat, creating a huge wave and rocking back and forth before coming to a stop.
The Navy called it "unintentional contact" and blamed a miscommunication. But hey, they're now investigating the incident alongside the shipbuilder. Meanwhile, the shipyard has announced plans to phase out side-launches in favor of a new ship lift for future vessels.
And let's not forget the Freedom class's history of propulsion problems and high operating costs. But with the USS Cleveland's christening collision, this troubled program gets another memorable, if not cringeworthy, addition to its story.
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