HONOLULU — Navy officials say an attempt to pull free a 9,600-ton warship that ran aground off the coast of Honolulu has been unsuccessful.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet says Navy tugboats and salvage ship Salvor tried to tow the Port Royal early Saturday, but the guided missile cruiser remained stuck.
The Navy says it plans to try again after extracting fuel and water from the $1 billion vessel.
The 9,600-ton ship ran aground Thursday night on a sandy, rocky bottom. The cause of the grounding, as well the extent of the damage to the ship, remains under investigation.
Commenters on the US Naval Institute blog note that this was the ship's first underway following an overhaul at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which implies that the crew was probably more than a little bit rusty. It was also the skipper's first underway with the ship, and AFAICT the first time he'd ever been underway on a Ticonderoga-class cruiser. His previous seagoing assignments were either to nuclear carriers or to Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, which draw only around 22 feet as compared to the 33 feet that Ticonderogas draw.
I can safely say that I never was involved in any groundings. I did have the distinct misfortune of going through an overhaul at PHNSY, and I remember more than a little bit of nervousness the first time we went back out to sea. The Navigation Department was probably the most nervous of all, since they hadn't been able to get much hands-on practice. We nukes, on the other hand, had made it through the Post Overhaul Reactor Safeguards Exam, which meant more practice at things going horribly (simulated) wrong than anyone could possibly want.
I can also safely say that the navigation and command teams are about to watch their careers go up in smoke, and the rest of the crew is going to be terminally embarrassed for years to come. They are literally just off the "reef runway" of Honolulu International Airport, and the local TV stations are stocking up on file footage.