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New $360M Navy ship breaks down on way to San Diego

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USS Milwaukee

LITTLE CREEK, Va. — One of the Navy’s newest ships had to be towed more than 40 miles to port after it broke down Friday less than a month after it was commissioned into service.

The littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee, which boasts a $360 million price tag, broke down Thursday evening, days after the ship’s crew discovered “fine metallic debris in the port combining gear filter system,” the Navy said in a news release. The crew later discovered similar debris in the ship’s oil filter.

The Navy described the breakdown as a “loss of propulsion.”

The ship is now undergoing a full inspection in Little Creek, Virginia. The incident was first reported by the Navy Times.

The breakdown happened as the ship was on its way to its home port of San Diego after it was commissioned in Milwaukee. The long journey took it through the Great Lakes and Halifax, Canada. It was scheduled to stop next in Florida.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain called the ship’s “complete loss of propulsion … deeply alarming, particularly given this ship was commissioned just 20 days ago.”

“U.S. Navy ships are built with redundant systems to enable continued operation in the event of an engineering casualty, which makes this incident very concerning” McCain, an Arizona Republican, said in a statement.

McCain added that he expected the Navy to “conduct a thorough investigation into the root causes of this failure, hold individuals accountable as appropriate, and keep the Senate Armed Services Committee informed.”

Cmdr. Tamsen Reese, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s Surface Force, Pacific Fleet, told CNN she is working to obtain an update on the Milwaukee’s status.

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