The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Freedom suffered minor flooding while underway off Southern California on the evening of Feb. 1, the U.S. Navy said Feb. 3.
The ship “suffered a failure of the port shaft mechanical seal,” said Lt. Jan Shultis, a spokesperson with Naval Surface Forces command in San Diego. “There was some flooding.”
An inflatable boot seal was deployed in a successful effort to contain the flooding, Shultis said, and the ship returned to San Diego on its own power.
“The flooding was quickly controlled and contained to the bilge area,” Shultis added.
Engineers from Naval Sea Systems Command now are inspecting the ship to determine the cause of the failure.
“The ship will continue trials once repairs are complete,” she said.
LCS ships use waterjets rather than conventional propeller shafts to reach very high speeds. The 3,300-ton Freedom is fitted with four Kamewa 153 SII waterjets that drive the ship at speeds that have topped 47 knots.
The first-of-class Freedom was delivered from Lockheed Martin in September 2008, but has spent much of the past six months in shipyard hands undergoing upgrades. The flooding incident occurred while the ship was underway for sea trials following a pierside overhaul in San Diego.
The Freedom is set to leave California later this year to voyage to Singapore, which has offered to host several forward-deployed LCS ships.