The Freedom underway in Singapore on May 17. (MC1 Jay C. Pugh/U.S. Navy)
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WASHINGTON — The USS Freedom, first of the US Navy’s littoral combat ships, was forced to return to port in Singapore Tuesday after sediment was discovered in the ship’s lube oil system.
The incident took place days after the ship concluded a successful appearance at a major defense exhibition in Singapore, where the Freedom attracted significant interest.
According to Capt. Darryn James, a Navy spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the ship was only a few hours out of Singapore when the problem was discovered.
“After getting underway on the morning of May 21 (May 20 in Hawaii), USS Freedom returned to Changi Naval Base approximately 8 hours later after the crew detected sediment in the ship’s lube oil system,” James said in an emailed statement. The ship “returned to port under its own power and at no time was the crew in any danger.
“The crew is now working with maintenance technicians in Singapore to determine the source of the problem and accomplish any needed repairs,” James added. “While I cannot discuss specific maintenance timelines or operational schedules, technicians are working to quickly address the problem.”
The Freedom left San Diego March 1 to begin its first-ever major overseas deployment, and arrived in Singapore on April 18. The LCS will operate from Changi for most of this year, taking part in a series of naval exercises around the western Pacific before returning to San Diego in late December.