NORFOLK, Va. — The Norfolk-based USS Vella Gulf has suffered another setback, keeping the cruiser in port even longer.
The ship deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in February, but suffered a fuel oil leak while crossing the Atlantic. That forced the ship to return to Naval Station Norfolk for repairs.
The Vella Gulf got underway again, but again had to return to port a short-time later.
Now the crew is addressing a new engineering problem: debris found in a main reduction gear lube oil strainer during pre-underway checks.
A spokeswoman for U.S. 2nd Fleet says technical experts are on the ship figuring out a way forward but so far there is not an estimated timeline to repair the issue.
As the ship remains in deployed status, the Navy says Vella Gulf Sailors have had to remain in their COVID-free bubble while repairs are ongoing.
Navy leadership has been working to provide additional rest and relaxation opportunities, including allowing for civilian clothes to be worn after hours during off-duty time, fitness activities on the pier, food and fitness events, as well as care-package drop-off days for families.