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Fire - USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6 - 12 Jul 20

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Fire - USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6 - 12 Jul 20

Old 22nd Jul 2020, 15:58
  #181 (permalink)  
 
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WRT Saratoga, the problem was Philly Naval Shipyard developed a new method to retube propulsion boilers that would save a lot of money if followed. NAVSEA HQ signed off on it. But after the ship left overhaul and in service the repair method proved to be a failure.

For BHR -- the ship was in an industrial availability. Part was done at NASSCO (right next door to 32d St naval station) including the dry-docking. Then the ship was moved to 32d street for the remainder of the availability. In any repair period there is a negotiated agreement between navy and repair contractor over who is responsible for what. A general problem is that the ship has no direct control over the contractor (there is a concern of creating a "constructive change order" that results in a claim against the gov't). The responsibility is with the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. Every contract I've seen had specifications for fire responsibility. But it's always a hassle and ship's force is always unhappy that yard workers don't take good care of the ship, in particular house-keeping. It appears ship's force was moved off-ship for the availability (typical in big ones). If no particular yard work was scheduled for that Sunday, it would have been typical in-home port duty section. I'm just guessing, but at this point I would expect there to be equipment or system level testing, some might have been scheduled for the weekend. It appears that fuel had been onloaded prior.

Note that US Navy has not used "bunker fuel" since the 60s/70s. (Also BHR is one of only a few conventional steamships left.) All ships now carry either/both "diesel fuel marine" or "JP-5". There isn't that much difference (JP-5 has a higher spec for entrained water and contaminates. Typical is JP-5 system is available as emergency fuel for main propulsion.) The characteristic is a minimum flash point of 140 degrees F. I don't know BHR configuration, but common practice now is to use compensated fuel tanks meaning tanks are always full with fuel or sea water. The tanks are built in "banks" with sluice pipes between tanks in the bank, with a final tank open to the exterior hull (discharge) and a pressured connection to the sea water service system that maintains a static head pressure on the tank bank.

As far as cabling, historically ships have been built to the "general specifications for ships" and that in turn invokes the Electrical Plant Installation Standard Methods (EPISM). In the 60s the navy moved away from armored cable to PVC-jacketed cable (weight savings). But then in the 80s there was concern about toxic smoke from PVC in a fire and the navy switched to a low-smoke cable. Don't know if there have been changes since. There's standards on the through-boxes / stuffing tubes where cableways transit water or fume tight barriers. But it was decided "GenSpecs" was too expensive and now the navy has invoked a modification of civilian maritime ABS construction standards. There has been considerable concern about the damage resilience of these specs (N/A to BHR).

After Falkland Islands, the navy began a massive review of firefighting procedures, much based on lessons learned from the RN. In fact the Chief Engineer of the HMS Sheffield came over and spent a year or two at NAVSEA HQ to advise. A lot of stuff I see in the BHR pictures are a result of that review (eg fire fighters ensemble).

Don't know current practice, but in the past navy installed Halon 1301 systems in manned machinery spaces. At the required concentration, it was supposed to be non-toxic. at least so crew could egress the space. Other, unmanned primarily electronic spaces (typically small) had Halon 1211 systems. This stuff was supposed to be bad for you. But, at least in the 90s, Halon was a no-no because it is an ODS. So it was being removed in some cases or no new installations in others. But Halon has to have the right concentration so I don't think it is applicable to the large open spaces in BHR (well deck, upper vehicle storage, hanger). In those places at least in my day they were always protected by fixed foam (AFFF) systems. Of course during a yard availability, those systems might be inop from time to time. But any time a fire fighting system is inop, you have to have an assessment of risk and mitigating procedures. Storing amounts of combustible materials in those places (not really designed for it) is an obvious question. Moreso, is the reported "explosion" not long after the initial report of fire. We need to find out what that was about as it appears to have halted all firefighting.

Hope this helps.

scott s.
.
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 21:00
  #182 (permalink)  
 
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Very educational post, scott967! My Dad, who was a Carrier guy (BSME1933, Georgia Institute of Technology, MSME Annapolis, Naval Architecture, 1939) was the lead hull designer of CV-9, the first modern Essex class ship. I believe that was the most reproduced carrier hull in the history of the U.S. Navy. I am certain that those vessels helped us to prevail in WWII!

I expect that there were few features designed to abate fire way back then, but I am sure that my father would buy you as many drinks as you could consume as long as you talked carriers or good-looking women.

His first fiancée was Eugene Ely's daughter. She left him for a guy with a smaller, errr, brain!

- Ed

Last edited by cavuman1; 23rd Jul 2020 at 02:43. Reason: Additional Information
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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 03:10
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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Very educational post indeed, scott967. Thank you for the added insight.
What is surprising to me is that the ship burned so extensively, with even the island on fire. Obviously flames travel upward, so a fire with explosion on the well deck will be a worst case, but even so, a warship would be expected to be more fire resistant. Perhaps it will turn out that as with the World Trade Center, where the fires were fed by the masses of papers and furnishings once the fuel oil was gone, the gear was more flammable than expected.
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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 08:06
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cavuman1 View Post
I expect that there were few features designed to abate fire way back then, but I am sure that my father would buy you as many drinks as you could consume as long as you talked carriers or good-looking women.

- Ed
The RN's armoured carriers had a number of protective features against fire, some of which reduced the amount of fuel and munitions that could be carried*. Initially the USN didn't think these features were desirable as they ate into the capability of the air group, this changed after one of the major battles in the Pacific, I forget which one but Prof Alexander Clarke has a channel on YouTube where he goes into the detail which is worth a watch.

*E.g. petrol for the aircraft was stored in cylinders in side water filled compartments which ~halved the amount available.
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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 09:58
  #185 (permalink)  
 
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Initial look at the BH (spoiler alert - its a mess, flight deck buckled amongst many other probs) and fires on the Kearsarge and one of the new Fords too. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...ed-flight-deck


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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 19:37
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Originally Posted by Bing View Post
The RN's armoured carriers had a number of protective features against fire, some of which reduced the amount of fuel and munitions that could be carried*. Initially the USN didn't think these features were desirable as they ate into the capability of the air group, this changed after one of the major battles in the Pacific, I forget which one but Prof Alexander Clarke has a channel on YouTube where he goes into the detail which is worth a watch.
Much has been made over the years regarding the armored flight decks on the British carriers vs. the unarmored flight decks on the Essex class carriers. At least according to an exhibit on the Intrepid in NYC, the lack of armor was an conscious design trade off - an armored flight deck would have impacted the hanger deck area and would have sharply reduced the max number of aircraft the carrier could handle. Instead, the hanger deck was armored (to protect the guts of the ship) - accepting the potential damage risk in order to carry many more aircraft.
While a few Essex class carriers suffered horrific battle damage, I don't think any were sunk.
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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 20:49
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
Much has been made over the years regarding the armored flight decks on the British carriers vs. the unarmored flight decks on the Essex class carriers. At least according to an exhibit on the Intrepid in NYC, the lack of armor was an conscious design trade off - an armored flight deck would have impacted the hanger deck area and would have sharply reduced the max number of aircraft the carrier could handle. Instead, the hanger deck was armored (to protect the guts of the ship) - accepting the potential damage risk in order to carry many more aircraft.
While a few Essex class carriers suffered horrific battle damage, I don't think any were sunk.
Oh this was separate from the armoured flight decks, it was protection of the petrol and ammunition stowage from shock and fire. I think this is the video where he goes into detail
. Of course the Essex class were a generation later than the Illustrious which were still designed to stay within the Washington and London treaty constraints so not really comparing apples with apples.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 11:25
  #188 (permalink)  
 
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21st century and this sort of toss is still happening. . . . if they want to take on all comers on the high seas US Navy's going to have to tighten-up their act (Understatement).

Symptomatic of there being no half decent dockyard operational protocols incorporated in these contracts i.e. after each shift all loose, partially used inflammables paints, solvents, adhesives, gas cannisters to be secured in one portable air tight container, say on the hangar deck and all uncollected waste inflammables in another portable airtight containers. . . Air tight containers to be provided by the contractor and to come equipped with their own fire suppression system and wireless CCTV, monitored 24/7 in the dockyard/contractors control room.

Same applies to tools.

And work-in-progress screened-off.

Each dockyard worker to wear a "Talking broach" camera so that the supervisor/control room can see what they are doing at any time of day.

Responsibility for overseeing that all materials (And tools) are properly stowed at the end of each shift allocated to designated team/shift leader on each team.

A two man patrol, composed of one ranking naval person + contractor, to tour ship to after each shift to ensure that all's ship shape.

Summary dismissal for any breach.

How difficult's that ?

N.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 13:31
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
While a few Essex class carriers suffered horrific battle damage, I don't think any were sunk.
The proponents of the RN approach would point out that the armoured carriers could take big hits and recover to continue operations without needing to return to a maintenance facility - whereas the likes of the Essexes could take big hits but would be more likely to be forced to retire for repairs.

An objective analysis of the RN vs USN approaches to compromises and tradeoffs is interesting. Both organisations had a lot of smart people.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 13:52
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by NAROBS View Post
21st century and this sort of toss is still happening. . . . if they want to take on all comers on the high seas US Navy's going to have to tighten-up their act (Understatement).

Symptomatic of there being no half decent dockyard operational protocols incorporated in these contracts i.e. after each shift all loose, partially used inflammables paints, solvents, adhesives, gas cannisters to be secured in one portable air tight container, say on the hangar deck and all uncollected waste inflammables in another portable airtight containers. . . Air tight containers to be provided by the contractor and to come equipped with their own fire suppression system and wireless CCTV, monitored 24/7 in the dockyard/contractors control room.

Same applies to tools.

And work-in-progress screened-off.

Each dockyard worker to wear a "Talking broach" camera so that the supervisor/control room can see what they are doing at any time of day.

Responsibility for overseeing that all materials (And tools) are properly stowed at the end of each shift allocated to designated team/shift leader on each team.

A two man patrol, composed of one ranking naval person + contractor, to tour ship to after each shift to ensure that all's ship shape.

Summary dismissal for any breach.

How difficult's that ?

N.
May be quite challenging to implement. as a lot of this stuff is bulky, often in out of the way places and not easy to stow. Plus there is a real cost to breaking down and setting up at each shift, as suggested.
Like the idea of a two person supervisory/inspection team though, it keeps people honest when they know their work is under scrutiny.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 14:00
  #191 (permalink)  
 
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This interesting article covers advantages/disadvantages and the decision rationale behind the decision to armor the flight deck or not: Were Armored Flight Decks on British Carriers Worthwhile?
By Stuart Slade and Richard Worth.

(Hosted on NavWeaps | Naval Weapons, Naval Technology and Naval Reunions, an intriguingly in-depth naval weapons site.)
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 14:28
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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It might sound stupid but when working on the likes of a carrier with large open areas, surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to build several fire "stations" on wheels that contain large quantities of foam or Halon and that automatically discharge or can be manually operated either by hands on or remotely, Thus when an area has the normal fire suppresant systems disabled for maintainance, these mobile units could be positioned in areas of risk to operate in an emergency.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 14:33
  #193 (permalink)  
 
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Something like this but self contained

https://www.environmental-expert.com...vehicle-684649
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 16:37
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dryce View Post
The proponents of the RN approach would point out that the armoured carriers could take big hits and recover to continue operations without needing to return to a maintenance facility - whereas the likes of the Essexes could take big hits but would be more likely to be forced to retire for repairs.

An objective analysis of the RN vs USN approaches to compromises and tradeoffs is interesting. Both organisations had a lot of smart people.
The big difference was the number of aircraft carried. Essex carried twice the number of aircraft that Illustrious could, which also reflects the operating philosophies of the two navies. As Bing rightly points out, Illustrious was constrained by treaty limits, whereas Essex wasn't.

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Old 24th Jul 2020, 19:51
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin View Post
The big difference was the number of aircraft carried. Essex carried twice the number of aircraft that Illustrious could, which also reflects the operating philosophies of the two navies. As Bing rightly points out, Illustrious was constrained by treaty limits, whereas Essex wasn't.
Armoured decks of British Fleet Carriers had the disadvantage that in the event of a kamikaze hit the projectile aircraft hardly penetrated and careered along the flight deck taking all before it. This happened to the No 2 of my dad's squadron, killed whilst preparing to take off. Similarly, a dispensible wooden flight deck might help dissipate damage to lower decks from a torpedo hit by providing a point of least resistance to the explosive pressure wave. Ultimately, it boils down to who do you want to put at risk Top-Side or lower decks ?

N
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 21:26
  #196 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Vzlet View Post
This interesting article covers advantages/disadvantages and the decision rationale behind the decision to armor the flight deck or not: Were Armored Flight Decks on British Carriers Worthwhile?
By Stuart Slade and Richard Worth.

(Hosted on NavWeaps | Naval Weapons, Naval Technology and Naval Reunions, an intriguingly in-depth naval weapons site.)
There's a counter to that article on the excellent Armoured Carriers website. https://www.armouredcarriers.com/deb...carrier-essays
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 21:28
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Originally Posted by NAROBS View Post
Armoured decks of British Fleet Carriers had the disadvantage that in the event of a kamikaze hit the projectile aircraft hardly penetrated and careered along the flight deck taking all before it. This happened to the No 2 of my dad's squadron, killed whilst preparing to take off. Similarly, a dispensible wooden flight deck might help dissipate damage to lower decks from a torpedo hit by providing a point of least resistance to the explosive pressure wave. Ultimately, it boils down to who do you want to put at risk Top-Side or lower decks ?

N
To be fair, terrible though that was for the No 2 of your Dad's squadron it was a much better outcome than penetrating through to the hangar would have been.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 11:54
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Its was rare for a single Kamikaze to fully penetrate the wooden deck of american carrier because, first-off the angle had to be right i.e. high (And many avoided coming in high because of the prolonged exposure to AA) and secondly most of the kamikaze in standard configuration were light weight compared to allied equivalents, and, in addition had been stripped of other kit that could be re-used i.e guns. So, apart from the ones that carried a bomb, one aircraft on its own was unlikely to penetrate all the way through a wooden deck. More likely, it would get stuck in the partial hole created and, at worst, perhaps the engine block only would fall through. I suspect that its only where the carrier took multiple hits and whereon the deck was weakened by the earlier hits and fire that suceeding KK's made it through to the hangar deck - Franklin and Bunker Hill.

N.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 15:22
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
May be quite challenging to implement. as a lot of this stuff is bulky, often in out of the way places and not easy to stow. Plus there is a real cost to breaking down and setting up at each shift, as suggested.
Like the idea of a two person supervisory/inspection team though, it keeps people honest when they know their work is under scrutiny.
Not sure how you would achieve any of it tbh - including a 100% sweep of a ship of any size. Even a fairly small ship has 100's of compartments, and, especially below the waterline, there is often no lateral or fore/aft access (or only within a small zone) before you have to come back up several decks to then go down into the next area. Of course, you could say only compartments being worked on, or adjacent to, need be inspected - but even so - in a major refit, that would be constantly changing and not insignificant. Not sure how wireless would work given the construction of ships either.

Again, as mentioned, much of damage control relies on compartmentalization which is often impossible to enforce as compartment hatches and doors are often open for access with "temporary" cable runs/hoses/ventilation passing through which probably took days to set up in the first place. We are not talking about the odd extension lead here or there. Certainly in the RN, there is a fire-watch mandated to monitor specific high-risk tasks where dedicated members of the ships' staff are present in all compartments that could be affected during, and for a pre-determined time after, any "hot works" or similar have been carried out. They have, generally, portable fire appliances for 1st aid/immediate response + the risk assessment will see that you have the best main-stream fire fighting system you can have to back up your immediate response from the portable extinguishers. Any downtime on fire systems will all be risk-assessed and mitigated for as best you can before it is switched off.

Your only real hope is to prevent a fire; as proven here, if you get one which gets established, you are pretty well stuffed given the open access during refits. It's more a case of apply the current rules which usually work, better education, and yes, proper supervision by Dockyard supervisors based on risk-assessments backed up by random spot checks. All should happen anyway. Of course, all adds to the cost so, where refits are bid on a commercial basis, maybe corners will be cut on supervision for example. Ultimately, unless a genuine accident (equipment failure or similar), such events are due to people not doing what they should do and, has been recently implied in the Karachi crash thread, if you make something idiot-proof, a bigger idiot will simply come along and see that as a personal challenge!!!

'Sides, we've only been doing this Refits thingy since the early 1500's so bound to be some teething problems with it!
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 18:51
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After the US Navy’s Bonhomme Richard catastrophe, a far-reaching crackdown on fire sa

Looks like Adm. Gilday is getting Administration backup in his determination to get the USN's house in order.

“Could there be another Bonhomme Richard waiting to happen? If you go back to 2017, who would have predicted we’d have had two collisions of that magnitude within a month?” Gilday said in a July 16 interview with Defense News. “So, I’m not waiting for ‘No. 2’ to decide we have a trend here. In a situation like this, one incident is enough for me to determine that there could be a trend and I’m not going to leave it to chance that there might be.”
In a letter to shipbuilders and contractors on Friday, James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) is reported by Defense News as saying ""Anyone who steps aboard our ships must be ever vigilant about ensuring fire safety, I urge you to use [the recent fire] to ensure that our work spaces are clean, that unnecessary clutter is removed, that all fire safety measures are being followed and that there is unrestricted access to firefighting and damage control equipment."

The Navy has launched dual investigations into the fire: A safety investigation, which are generally not released to the public so that witnesses can feel free to speak openly, and a more formal administrative investigation, which generally comes with disciplinary recommendations and are releasable to the public.
Source: DefenseNews 25JUL2020
Full text of article here:
a far-reaching crackdown on fire safety
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