USS Bonhomme Richard Investigation and Cleanup

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $10 million to General Dynamics NASSCO for the clean-up and dewatering of the USS Bonhomme Richard, which caught fire at the shipyard earlier this month.

The $10 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification contract will cover emergency firefighting support, dewatering, safety and initial clean-up efforts.

The USS Bonhomme Richard, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, suffered a devastating fire on July 12 while undergoing maintenance at NASSCO. The fire started in a lower deck before spreading to upper decks and the vessel’s control tower. Several fire fighters and U.S. Navy sailors suffered minor injuries battling the fire.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Work will be performed at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California, and is expected to be completed by November 2020.

I think it will be interesting to see how the investigation goes. With cleanup to be completed by November, I’m not sure how thorough of a job they can do, but I’m no expert in these kinds of investigations.

Aren’t modern naval vessels equipped with a fire fighting system consisting of overhead sprinklers (water/foam and or inert gas ? Pictures of her burning look like the US carriers in WWII and the one off Vietnam that lit up. Imagine what a modern cruise missile would have done.

Interesting. So the yardbirds start a fire then get paid to clean up the mess. Shouldn’t NASSCO pay to clean it up plus pay for the repairs plus damages plus cover all the costs associated with firefighting and losses of crew personal effects and added expenses?


Hopefully details like that will come out in the investigation, and the appropriate parties are held accountable. Sure seems like it should be on the shipyard, let’s hope for a thorough investigation.

Systems were tagged out for repairs and maintenance. Pretty common during a shipyard period.

Maybe I missed it, but was hot-work taking place on the morning of the fire? Or are we dealing with “spontaneous combustion” from oily rags or other stuff?

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I am quite sure that the limited navy crew aboard was not doing hot-work. The vendors/contractors were.

The question asked; “WAS” hot work taking place, not “WHO” was doing hot work.

Spontaneous combustion is a possibility, among others. No, I don’t know if welding was going on (likely), I guess we will hear about that later on in the investigation.

Similar then to the Ore Carrier (MV St. Clair) that burned out in Toledo. In that case no onboard systems were charged and the fire hydrants on the dock were frozen over.

Unfortunately, there is no reason for an NTSB investigation since the ship was “in the yards” so to speak. NTSB investigations tend to whitewash less than Navy investigations.

The St Clair also had no functioning fire detection systems at the time of the fire either, and the shipkeeper was off the boat when the fire really got going. By the time a keeper on another vessel saw the smoke, the fire was already into one or both of the belts and she was a goner. The frozen hydrants and frozen harbor that prevented drafting were only salt in the wound at that point.

The NTSB has no mandate to investigate military incidents.

That’s what I said.

Good that makes two of us

Considering the cost to the taxpayer of the BHR debacle it might be a good idea to have the NTSB do a no holds barred investigation.

Would love to see the final reports they would have written on the Fitz and the McCain.


So won’t the shipyard’s insurance be on the hook for this?

So they are going to pay the shipyard 10 million to clean up the mess they most likely were the cause of?

Sounds about right.

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Some one is going to have to pay for it, The massive amount of attorneys on both sides will be paid perhaps, that is for sure. Maritime lawyers sometimes get shitty cases to defend. That ship is toast.