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Report: Once-grounded cruiser Port Royal may be worth saving

Aug. 3, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
A recent report says the damage to the cruiser Port Royal after its 2009 grounding wasn't as extensive as initially expected.
A recent report says the damage to the cruiser Port Royal after its 2009 grounding wasn't as extensive as initially expected. (Michael F. Laley / Navy via AP)
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The cruiser Port Royal seemed kaput.

The brass believed the ship never returned to full readiness after its 2009 grounding off Honolulu Airport, despite $40 million in repairs. Admirals picked it as one of the seven cruisers to retire early, and it has been in a state of purgatory since.

Then lawmakers asked late last year: Is that your final answer?

No, the Navy replied.

Indeed, teams of ship assessors found that the 19-year-old cruiser is in OK shape, a new report says.

“Preliminary results indicate that the USS Port Royal’s material condition is comparable to other [Ticonderoga-class cruisers] that were included in the assessment,” Naval Sea Systems Command wrote in the May report to Congress, “and that the manifested effects of the grounding in February 2009 are not as extensive as previously believed.”

NAVSEA is compiling a full report of the damages and the cost to repair the ship in an overhaul slated for fiscal 2016, according to the nine-page report first disclosed by the U.S. Naval Institute’s website.

The ship has deployed once since the grounding, in 2011, during which it had to stop in Bahrain to have “new structural cracks” repaired, according to the report. In addition to the grounding’s fallout, Port Royal suffers from the same superstructure cracking that has plagued the rest of the class.

While this could be the first step toward rehabilitating Port Royal, officials still could rule the cost of the repairs would be better put to maintaining newer ships. The full report is expected in early August.

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