The US Navy has announced its decision to temporarily suspend some submarine docking operations at its dry dock facilities in the Pacific Northwest.
The facilities include the dry dock at delta pier at Trident Refit Facility (TRF) Bangor in North Wales as well as Dry Docks 4, 5, and 6 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF).
The latest decision to suspend dry dock operation follows the recently conducted seismic study and expert analysis.
The assessment was performed as part of the US Navy’s long-range Shipyard Infrastructure Optimisation Programme.
It highlighted some of the potential problems related to the remote possibility of a large-scale earthquake that can occur simultaneously with a submarine maintenance availability.
The study further pushed the US Navy to take additional safety measures to ensure that submarines, sailors and work force at the dry dock facilities as well as the local people can be prevented from the earthquake.
Naval Sea Systems Command commander vice admiral Bill Galinis said: “We will begin implementing these mitigations immediately and safely return our dry docks to full capacity as soon as possible.”
According to the US Navy, this decision will not have any effect on the country’s strategic deterrent capabilities or on the ability of Navy’s fleet to continue its operations.
The Navy is minimising delays to ship schedules and fleet impacts, while evaluating work packages for each affected availability to continue work pier side, whenever possible.
The service has also deployed a Naval Sea Systems Command-led team to ensure efficient and safe return of the docks to service, with all the necessary upgrades in place once the suspension is discontinued.
The decision will not impact aircraft carrier maintenance, noted the navy.