Ship sail

Navy ship catches fire during massive military exercise near Hawaii

by John Konrad (gCaptain) US Navy Crews Respond to “reports of engine room fires and potential injuriesaboard a ship participating in the biennial naval exercise RIMPAC off Hawaii today.

At approximately 8 a.m. Hawaii time, U.S. Navy watch officers received reports of a fire and potential injuries aboard a Joint Task Force ship. The vessel, which has not yet been identified, was participating in the US Navy’s RIMPAC exercise, the largest international naval warfare exercise in the world which takes place every two years. It is not known whether the ship belongs to the United States Navy or one of the 26 participating countries.

At 1:40 p.m., the Navy reported that the fire in the engine room aboard the burning ship had been extinguished and two seriously injured sailors had been evacuated by helicopter and flown to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

Shortly after the fire was extinguished, ship spotters in Hawaii noticed that the Navy salvage tug USNS Grasp had departed Hawaii and set sail for RIMPAC exercises.

The USNS Grasp is a Safeguard Class Salvage and Salvage vessel which was more than likely sent to assist in damage control efforts on the damaged ship.

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USNS Grasp is one of four remaining fleet tug/rescue vessels in the United States Navy and is operated by United States Merchant Seamen working for Military Sealift Command. The sturdy construction of this steel-hulled vessel, combined with its speed and endurance, makes Grasp well-suited for salvage and salvage operations throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Grasp has three manually operated fire monitors, one on the forward signal deck, one on the after signal deck and one on the forecastle, which can supply up to 1,000 US gallons (3,800 L ) per minute of seawater. She has a bollard pull (towing force at zero speed and full power) of 68 tons.

We don’t know the cause of the fire, but RIMPAC 2022 contains live-fire drills and realistic war simulations, including the sinking of a decommissioned frigate, the USS Rodney M. Davis.

This is the first full-scale RIMPAC in four years, after fiscal year 2020 was significantly reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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