Theodore Roosevelt Receives Assist From Navy Divers


NORFOLK -- Navy divers assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Maintenance Center (MARMC) rushed to the rescue, March 10, to help clean out clogged sea-water piping aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) assigned to Naval Station Norfolk.

Scheduled to deploy March 9, Theodore Roosevelt's departure was put on temporary hold when the ship's sea water piping became clogged with marine growth sucked into the ship's intakes.

Since their arrival around 3 a.m., the MARMC divers have been working around the clock to help clear the clogged piping and ensure Theodore Roosevelt is able to depart as soon as possible.

"We got the emergency call from our chain of command stating [Theodore Roosevelt] cannot get underway due to suspected clogged intakes," said Chief Navy Diver Mark Sawyer, assigned to MARMC. "We had the first dive team, dive team charlie, arrive on scene at about three a.m. and we currently have two divers in the water working now." 

Even with work continuing around the clock, water conditions ensured progress was slow and difficult.

"The hardest part of clearing the intake suctions under the ship was the temperature. It is only about 36 degrees in that water with only six inches of visibility. It made it incredibly difficult to find the intakes much less work on them," said Navy Diver 1st Class Mike Bayer, from Laconia, New Hampshire.

Theodore Roosevelt expects to depart as soon as its sea-water piping is cleared and the tides are right. 

Theodore Roosevelt will join the rest of the ships of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group composed of the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Farragut (DDG 90) to conduct operations in the U.S. 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.

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