The US Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO) a $10,000,000 contract for the clean-up of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) after a serious fire onboard earlier this month.
The fire aboard the ship started on July 12 while LHD-6 was undergoing routine maintenance. It raged on for four days before it was brought under control.
NASSCO will now provide emergency firefighting support, dewatering, safety and initial clean-up efforts. The work is expected to be completed by November 2020.
While the navy awarded the clean-up contract, the fate of the 22-year-old ship is still uncertain. Speaking to reporters on July 17, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said the damage was extensive, and included electrical, structural and mechanical damage.
He noted that he was certain that the ship could be returned to operations, but questioned whether that investment would be worth it for a 22-year old ship.
According to a damage summary letter obtained by the Defense News, the fire damaged 11 of Bonhomme Richard’s 14 decks, with the island nearly gutted and sections of the flight deck warped or bulging. Despite pointing to devastating damage, the letter does not say whether the ship would be repaired or not.
The navy has started several investigations into the accident.