Maintenance crews are working to repair faulty lube-oil coolers on board the USS Freedom, the Navy’s first Littoral Combat Ship, less than two weeks since it docked in Singapore as part of the services’ first-ever LCS deployment.
The Freedom’s crew reported that seawater had gotten into the ship’s lube-oil placing the Freedom at risk, officials said. Crew members discovered the water after it took lube-oil samples, said Lt. Anthony Falvo, Pacific Fleet spokesman.
“The crew reported a problem with a faulty lube-oil cooler. The coolers use seawater to cool the lube oil in the ship’s propulsion systems. The lube oil passes through tubes in the ships propulsion system. They get very hot. Seawater is used to rush over those tubes to cool it down a bit,” Falvo said.
Navy officials say this kind of malfunction has, on occasion, happened on other ships as well but stressed that no crew members were ever in harm’s way.
“Although the failures are infrequent, it’s not unusual that these pumps would fail from time to time. This was not an incident where there was flooding on the ship or the ship was taking on water. The crew was never in danger,” said Falvo.
Additional maintenance personnel are on route to the ship from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Program Executive Office and Lockheed Martin. The necessary repair parts are already in Singapore.
The ship utilizes two Rolls Royce MT-30 Gas Turbines, two Fairbanks Morse Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, and four Rolls Royce Kamewa 153SII waterjets, he said.
The Freedom requested outside assistance from the Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Pacific, Falvo said.
“It’s important that we fully examine the problem. They’re assessing the issue now and they are working quickly to repair the issue,” he explained.
The incident is not expected to adversely impact the deployment schedule for the Freedom, which is slated to participate in an exhibition by the middle of May.
The upcoming conference and exhibition, called the International Maritime Defense Exhibition Asia (IMDEX), include international defense industry events to assess the latest in maritime technologies.
Along these lines, the Navy’s LCS program is designed to bring next-generation technology for near-shore surface and undersea maritime security and combat missions, service officials have said.