Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site




Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

$71M Spent Before Navy Scrapped Sub

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Comment | More

The U.S. Navy spent $71 million trying to repair a nuclear sub torched by a painter before deciding to scrap the vessel, a new report states.

The USS Miami Los Angeles-class submarine (SSN 755) was heavily damaged when a civilian painter started a fire while the sub was in dry dock in May 2012; a second, accidental fire in March 2013 added to the damage.

The $71 million price tag mainly included damage assessment, planning, repair materials and a few initial repair efforts, as well as $7 million for cleanup, according to figures provided at the request of The Associated Press.

Extra $250M in Repairs

The Navy planned to repair the submarine and return it to duty, but after inspections revealed that high temperatures and the corrosive atmosphere had caused "Environmentally Assisted Cracking" in steel piping and fasteners, the Navy announced in August that it would scrap the ship.

USS Miami
U.S. Navy / Jim Cleveland

The Navy reportedly spent $71 million on the torched submarine before deciding to scrap it entirely because estimated repair costs jumped from $450 million to $700 million.

The newly discovered damage drove the estimated repair cost from $450 million to $700 million—a bill that the Navy said it could not afford in these budget-cutting times.

"Under the financial constraints imposed by sequestration, we simply cannot afford to undertake the repairs," Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, the Navy's director of the Undersea Warfare Division, said in August.

According to Breckenridge, the repair work for the ship was four times greater than any previous submarine repair and 50 percent larger than an engineered overhaul.

"In times of prosperity with more flexible defense spending, sufficient resources would be available for our industrial base partners to rise and tackle this formidable challenge. However, sequestration pressures remove the needed foundation of stability to support an endeavor of this magnitude," Breckenridge said.

Unpredictable Budget 'Waste'

Miami had 10 years remaining of her planned service life, including five deployments.

Navy budget cuts
U.S. Navy photo

The USS Miami, shown here in Florida's Everglades, will be sent to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where it will be cut up for scrap. The sub had 10 years of remaining service life.

The submarine is still in dry dock, and shipyard workers are removing fuel from the nuclear reactor and preparing the sub to be towed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington where it will be cut up for scrap. Costs related to inactivation are estimated at around $54 million, the Navy said, according to the AP report.

According to the AP, the Naval Sea Systems Command said the $71 million spent "wasn't a total loss," because part of that expenditure supported the inactivation and required repairs to send the ship to Washington.

Still, criticism greeted the news of the tab.

"The figure illustrates the kind of waste that results when unpredictable budget pressures force the military services to change their plans," Loren Thompson, defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, told the AP.

Paul O'Connor, president of the Metal Trades Council, told the AP, "The waste is Congress not being clear in the budget. We haven't had a working budget for years. Every year is a continuing resolution from the previous year. It's no way to run a business. It's no way to defend our nation."

Twice-Torched Sub

Casey James Fury, a civilian painter and abrasive blaster, admitted to starting a fire on the sub in May 2012 while it was in dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME. The fire injured seven people and took more than 100 firefighters 12 hours to battle.

On Nov. 8, 2012, Fury pleaded guilty to two counts of arson as part of a plea agreement. In March, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison and $400 million in restitution.

Casey James Fury

Casey James Fury was sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleaded guilty to two counts of arson. Fury started a fire on the USS Miami that injured seven people and heavily damaged the submarine.

Fury told authorities that he set the fire because he was suffering from an anxiety attack and wanted to leave work after texting his ex-girlfriend in an attempt to convince her to stop seeing someone else.

He set alcohol wipes on a piece of wood, covered them with a piece of plywood, and set them on fire with a lighter. The fire damaged the torpedo room and the forward compartment, which includes crew living, command and control spaces. The sub's reactor wasn't operating at the time, and no torpedoes or other weapons were on board.

Fury had been taking a cocktail of prescription medications, including Celexa for anxiety and depression, Klonopin for anxiety, Ambien for sleep and Zyrtec for allergies, according to the criminal complaint.

Just days after Fury was sentenced, fire crews responded to another, unrelated blaze on the Miami, caused by abrasive blasting. A shipyard spokesperson said that the sandblasting operations in the control area of the sub's forward compartment had produced some sand grit that damaged a temporary light fixture, igniting a fire.


Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Accidents; Criminal acts; Economy; Fire; Laws and litigation; Painters; Shipyards; U.S. Navy

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
Introducing the ALPHA1 Blasting Robot
Once installed and commissioned – simply

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.

Graco Inc.
Graco EcoQuip 2: Experience the Difference
While others claim their equipment is the same, none of them compare to Graco’s EcoQuip 2™ Vapor Abrasive® blasting line. Visit to learn more.

Absolute Equipment/Grand Rental Station
We have Tier 4 Equipment including Air Compressors & Generators for Sale & Rent! Your job may now require Tier-4. or Call 412-931-6655.

Jotun Paints Inc.
Jotun Jotachar 1709
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.

SEMicro Division, M.E. Taylor Engineering, Inc.
Stop Guessing the Classification Rating of Your Cross Hatch Adhesion Testing Results
SEMicro's newly-patented Adhesion Testing Analyzer takes the guesswork out of cross hatch tape adhesion testing standards such as ASTM D3359 and ISO 2409.

ABKaelin, LLC
Programs/Training/Monitoring for Silica, Lead, Noise, Beryllium, Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Hazardous Waste*PM10 & TSP-Lead Ambient Air Monitoring*SSPC C3/C5

RCG America
Recycled crushed glass factory direct. Pallet to truckloads. Experience quality. Demand savings. Serving PA, MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, MI, OH, IN, WV, KY.


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us