The littoral combat ship Freedom has suffered several minor mishaps during its extended deployment this year to Singapore. (US Navy)
WASHINGTON — The littoral combat ship (LCS) Freedom suffered minor flooding Sunday when about three feet of water was discovered in the bilge, the lowest part of the ship.
The LCS was pierside at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore and was in no danger, the Navy said.
The ship’s crew controlled the flooding and dewatered the space, said Capt. Darryn James, spokesman for US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor.
“The problem was traced to a small rupture in a seawater service system pipe,” he said.
Impacts from the flooding are not severe, James added, and the problem “will result in minimal operational impact to the ship.”
According to a Navy report, a half-inch rupture was discovered in the discharge piping of the No. 1 gas turbine motor lube oil cooler. It is unclear whether the problem is due to a manufacturing defect, an installation problem or some other issue.
“This latest problem is not related to previous lube oil cooling issues that occurred during this deployment,” James said.
Freedom, which has been in port for several weeks, was to have gotten underway Monday for several days of local operations before returning to Changi for a maintenance period, but “the ship will now remain in port to conduct repairs,” James said.
Freedom’s crews have dealt with several mishaps since leaving San Diego on March 1 to begin the cruise, the first extended overseas deployment for an LCS. The ship has experienced several short-duration power losses — each a matter of minutes — including an event in July that caused Freedom to break off operations and return to Singapore for repairs.
Several problems have resulted from issues in the lube oil cooling systems — essentially tubes filled with seawater that circulate around hot engines to cool them down. Such systems are common to virtually all big ships, and are not necessarily LCS-specific.
James declined to discuss specific operational schedules for Freedom, but he indicated no changes are planned.
“We don’t expect this to be a problem that affects Freedom’s deployment schedule,” he said. “The ship is working to prepare for CARAT Brunei exercises in November.”
CARAT, or Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercises, have been a staple of Freedom’s deployment, and have included exercises with naval forces from the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
Sailors also completed a crew swap in early August when the Blue Crew relieved the Gold Crew.
Freedom is expected to leave for home before the end of November and be back in San Diego around Christmastime. ■