SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Employees from Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s (SWRMC) docking team coordinated with Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest (NAVFAC SW) to successfully dock Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship in the Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) graving dock on May 21.
“This effort was a win for the whole team,” said Capt. David Hart, commanding officer, SWRMC. “It paves the way for better utilization of our docking assets in the San Diego area to support completing maintenance availabilities on our ships and returning them to the Fleet on time.”
Rushmore is the largest ship to enter the graving dock since 1986 when SWRMC and Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) San Diego docked USS Germantown (LSD 42), also a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, for an emergent availability.
The plan to dry dock Rushmore at NBSD came into fruition after issues with execution of the FY19 docking schedule were identified by Ed Atwater, SWRMC member of the Fleet Availability Scheduling Team (FAST). After voicing his concerns, Atwater urged the FAST to develop a plan to support more dockings with the NBSD graving dock.
The evolution was led by Cmdr. (sel.) Nathan Beach, as the docking officer, and was supported by a number of SWRMC employees from Engineering, Waterfront Operations, and Safety as part of the docking team. External support from key stakeholders including the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Naval Surface Force Pacific staff teams was critical to realizing the event.
In addition to coordinating with NAVFAC SW to provide increased power, firefighting and water capabilities to the graving dock infrastructure, this effort required SWRMC’s team to work with depot level contractors on stability and clearance calculations and developing an operational plan to ensure the contractor dockmaster could safely dock Rushmore. The SWRMC Docking Team validated the block build measurements per the drawings, provided independent stability calculations and verified the contractor findings to ensure Rushmore was docked without damaging the hull, able to withstand seismic and hurricane loading, and met minimum safety clearances in dock.
The team then worked with the contractor to train linehandlers in preparation for docking under tight clearances and using new methods. The team utilized an in-haul line from a capstan at the head of the graving dock, similar to those used by aircraft carriers, but it had not been used by SWRMC to dock a ship in some time.
Over the months leading to the docking, the SWRMC Docking Team scheduled and managed actions for multiple stakeholders to ensure that the operations and facility condition were ready. Communication was a key component to ensure linehandlers, divers, tug operators, ship's force and the dockmaster could successfully support the docking.
The docking process began late on May 20 and was successfully completed in the early morning hours of May 21.
SWRMC is meeting its mission to provide superior ship maintenance, modernization, technical support, and training for the Pacific Fleet.
For more information on SWRMC please visit https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/RMC/SWRMC.
For more news from Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/swrmc/.