Shipboard

Coastguard docks at Yokosuka for repairs days after ship burned


Fire crews fight a blaze aboard Coast Guard Waesche in the western Pacific Ocean, September 19, 2020 (Aidan Cooney / US Coast Guard)

Fire crews fight a blaze aboard Coast Guard Waesche in the western Pacific Ocean, September 19, 2020.

Fire crews fight a blaze aboard Coast Guard Waesche in the western Pacific Ocean, September 19, 2020 (Aidan Cooney / US Coast Guard)

An investigator aboard Coast Guard Waesche looks back towards the superstructure after the ship caught fire in the Pacific Ocean on September 19, 2020.

An investigator aboard Coast Guard Waesche looks back towards the superstructure after the ship caught fire in the Pacific Ocean on September 19, 2020 (Aidan Cooney / US Coast Guard)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – U.S. Coast Guard Waesche docked here on Tuesday for inspection and possible repairs after a 90-minute fire damaged the ship at sea on Sunday, a Coast Guard statement said.

Five crew members were injured fighting a fire in the exhaust stack and in nearby areas after black smoke was reported on board at 5:18 p.m. Sunday, the statement said. The injuries were not serious and were treated by the cutter’s medical team.

Coastguard photos show orange flames shooting from the Waesche into the night sky.

“The swift response and courageous efforts of the crew aboard the Waesche to contain and quickly extinguish the fire is a testament to the bravery and skill of this crew,” said the cutter’s commanding officer, Captain Jason Ryan. , in the press release.

Yokosuka investigators are assessing the Waesche to determine the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage, according to the Coast Guard statement.

“While at Fleet Forces Yokosuka, the cutter will be subject to further inspection and possibly repairs,” the statement said.

Yokosuka is home to the U.S. Navy Ship Repair Facility and the Japan Regional Maintenance Center.

The Waesch left her home port in Alameda, Calif., On August 22 to patrol the western Pacific. Its crew was to “engage in professional exchanges and capacity building exercises with partner countries” in the region, according to the Coast Guard.

Over 400 feet in length and a crew of around 150, the National Security Coast Guards “are among the largest and most technologically sophisticated ships in the Guard fleet. coastal ”, according to the press release.

This is at least the second fire aboard a Coast Guard this year. In August, a fire aboard Coast Guard Healy, one of two US icebreakers, temporarily ended US patrols in the Arctic Ocean.

An electrical fire in a main propulsion engine broke out shortly after the Healy’s departure from Seward, Alaska, bound for the Arctic Ocean with 11 scientists on board. The crew extinguished the fire in less than half an hour and there were no injuries.

Since last year, the Coast Guard has increased its presence in the increasingly controversial Western Pacific. In 2019, the Bertolf and Stratton cutters crossed the region “for 326 days combined,” according to the service.

The vessels combat illegal fishing, train with foreign coast guards, and monitor and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions against North Korea “on vessels making ship-to-ship transfers in eastern China, South China and the Yellow Sea, “the statement said.

Also last year, the Coast Guard made history when the cutter Bertolf joined the USS Curtis Wilbur in a transit through the Taiwan Strait, the first time a cutter had done so.

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