Norfolk, Va. – The Navy’s newest ship, the littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee, broke down off the coast of Virginia on December 11th and had to be towed to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek for repairs, according to the Navy Times.
The ship was on its way from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport, Florida, and then to its home port of San Diego. The ship was commissioned Nov. 21 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has been making the voyage to San Diego ever since. The salvage ship Grapple towed the Milwaukee nearly 40 miles to Little Creek.
Initial indications are that fine metal debris collected in the lube oil filter caused the system to shut down, according to a Navy statement provided to Navy Times. The cause of the metal debris in the lube oil system is not known and assessments are ongoing.
Problems with the propulsion plant began almost as soon as Milwaukee got underway from Halifax. The ship’s computer system triggered an alarm and the ship called away an engineering casualty.
Engineers cleaned out the metal filings from the lube oil filter and locked the port shaft as a precaution. In the early hours of Friday morning, the ship was conducting steering tests and lost lube oil pressure in the starboard combining gear due to the presence of the same metal filings in that filter.
The metal filings in the lube oil have not been a class-wide issue, according to the Navy.