New warship returns after problem-plagued maiden voyage
SAN DIEGO — A littoral combat ship that spent most of this year sidelined in Singapore because of a propulsion system breakdown returned to its home port in San Diego Friday.
The USS Fort Worth was on its maiden deployment to Southeast Asia when the breakdown occurred in January. A Navy investigation cited a failure to apply adequate lubrication as a cause of the breakdown, and the commander of the rotating crew on board at the time was replaced.
The Navy rotates LCS crews every four months or so, which keeps them fresh and allows the vessels to remain deployed for longer periods of time. Five different groups of sailors served aboard the Fort Worth during the deployment, and Crew 111 has operated the vessel since June.
“I am very proud of my team’s tireless work ethic and ultra-positive approach to all challenges,” said Cmdr. Michael Brasseur, the Crew 111 commanding officer. “Finally, I am truly grateful for the amazing support we got from our maintenance team as they helped us restore Fort Worth to full operational readiness so we could proudly sail our warship home after an awesome deployment.”
The vessel sailed out of Singapore under its own power Aug. 22, using fuel-hungry turbine engines that required several port calls along the way. The LCS’s more-efficient diesel engines need repairs.
The Fort Worth left San Diego on deployment in November 2014, and one month later took part in the search for an Air Asia passenger jet that crashed during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore. All 162 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A-320 were killed.
The Fort Worth also made a dozen port visits and took part in 10 exercises with other navies before the breakdown.
The ship is being replaced in Southeast Asia by the San Diego-based USS Coronado, which suffered its own malfunction in August near Hawaii. The Coronado has since been repaired left Pearl Harbor last week.