USS Port Royal finally dislodged from ocean floor off Oahu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

USS Port Royal finally dislodged from ocean floor off Oahu

Rear Admiral Joe Walsh Rear Admiral Joe Walsh

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The USS Port Royal guided missile cruiser is back in its home port, at Pearl Harbor.

Many questions remain unanswered, and studies need to be completed to determine the state of the ship, and the environment.

On Sunday, 500 tons of sea water were removed from the ship along with 40 tons of anchors and chains allowing the vessel to be freed. The process took about four hours and needed the assistance of seven tug boats.

For now the USS Port Royal sits at Pearl Harbor de-commissioned. There's still no word on what caused the grounding, but Navy officials are calling it a successful recovery.

"As I've said since the onset of this incident, our top priorities have been the safety of the crew, the safety of the ship and the safety of the environment," said Rear Admiral Joe Walsh.

It's back in port and much lighter, after water, anchors and equipment were removed.

"I think that was key to lightening the ship was key to our success last night as oppose to the previous night where we attempted to but were unable to lighten the ship."

So far the only damage discovered is the sonar dome near the front of the vessel, and the tips of the propeller blades are sheared off. The anchors still lay at the bottom.

"We're developing plans to retrieve the ships anchors and anchor chain as well as any other debris that may be on the bottom of the ocean."

On the surface sheen of marine oil was noticed by Coast Guard officials. It's not clear if the oil is from the Port Royal or the tugs used in the recovery.

"There is no threat to the coastline or marine life from the sheen and the Clean Islands response vessel will remain on scene until the sheen burns away," said Walsh.

The USS Port Royal will be dry-docked later this week to further investigate the cause of the grounding.

There is no estimate on how much it will cost to repair the damages to the ship.

The Port Royal had just completed its first day of sea trials after wrapping up a four-month routine maintenance stay at Pearl Harbor.

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