PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard successfully undocked USS Chicago (SSN 721) from its scheduled engineered refueling overhaul Oct. 27, six weeks ahead of schedule.
The undocking supports fleet operational requirements by delivering submarines from maintenance and modernization activities for fleet tasking.
"This (early undocking) is a huge win for the shipyard, and I want to thank everyone involved," said Joe Mendonsa, project superintendent for Chicago. "This is one more step forward in the shipyard's 2012 vision of being the number one naval shipyard, and also another step in getting our 16 days back."
For Chicago's previous availability, the same team finished 16 days late in 2008. Making up for that lost time was the driving force behind the Chicago project team and its early completion goal.
The project team is well on its way to surpassing this goal. The submarine undocked with 94 percent of its production work completed.
"All the preparations resulted in a smooth, safe and successful evolution in which the ship left the dry dock within minutes of the original plan," said Mendonsa.
Chicago was removed from Dry Dock Three, which poses unique challenges, explained Shipyard Docking Officer Lt. Lorenze Tate. The shallow depth of the dry dock requires the use of the Buoyancy Assist Module System (BAMS), giant tanks that lift the submarine higher than normal.
"The process is very detailed and carefully done to make sure the ship is lifted evenly, and is not heavy forward or aft," said Tate. "Any time you lift a ship, it creates a risk. It takes a lot of engineering and is a detailed step-by-step process."
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is a full-service naval shipyard and regional maintenance center for the Navy's surface ships and submarines. The shipyard is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii with a combined civilian and military workforce of about 4,900.
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