While lowering the anchor from USS Tarawa (LHA-1) in 2001, the ship’s anchor, plus 13 shots of chain were lost in a plume of rust and fury of sparks and noise.
This incident occurred due to a failure of the windlass brake, which allowed the anchor to flow freely and uncontrolled until the “breakaway link” failed. This link is the last link of chain and attached to the structure of the hull inside the chain locker. It is designed to fail in the case of a runaway anchor chain, rather than cause damage to the structure of the ship’s hull.
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