Firefighting efforts continue on USS Bonhomme Richard

TUG & SALVAGE WEEK
Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has confirmed that efforts to contain a fire that had ignited on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard were still ongoing two days after the incident began.

During a press briefing at 14:00 local time on Tuesday, July 14, Expeditionary Strike Group Three commander Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck said that Bonhomme Richard still has an “active fire” on board though the ship itself is stable and is in no danger of sinking.

The admiral added that there is no threat to the vessel’s fuel tanks, which are well below any active fires or heat sources.

The fire on Bonhomme Richard erupted at around 08:30 on Sunday, July 12, while at berth at Naval Base San Diego, California.

As of Tuesday, US Navy MH-60 helicopters have conducted more than 1,200 water bucket drops to cool the super structure and flight deck, enabling firefighting crews to get on board internally to contain the blaze. Navy and civilian tugs have also been providing firefighting support from the waterline.

A total of 38 sailors and 23 civilians have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation though no individuals are currently hospitalised.

The navy is set to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident to include assessing the cause of the fire and damage to the ship once firefighting efforts are successfully and safely concluded.

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