USS Port Royal Grounding – Incident Updates, Links and Photos!

John Konrad
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September 29, 2009

uss-port-royal grounding in hawaii

After seven months in dry dock and $40 million in repairs, the cruiser USS Port Royal is back in the water in Pearl Harbor following the embarrassing February 5th grounding near Honolulu International Airport’s reef runway.  Here is look back at gCaptain’s full coverage of this incident.

USS Port Royal on better days - Grounding photos below


The guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal ran aground Thursday evening February 5, 2009 just south of the Honolulu airport. The Navy is currently lightening the ship to make her easier to move at high tide on Sunday.

RADM Joseph Walsh, deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet, says there is no structural damage from the grounding but damage to the high-tech sonar equipment at the bow is a major concern.

No one was injured when the ship grounded and no oil was seen on the surface following the incident. Information Dissemination has an update on the initial salvage efforts HERE and the US Naval Institute Blog has a running thread HERE.

UPDATE Feb 10:

Monday, the USS Royal was freed after its 4 attempt to refloat and nearly 5 days stuck on the seabed near the Honolulu Airport.  The $1-billion warship suffered minor damages including sheared off blades to its two propellers and damage its sonar bulb.  No structural damage has been reported.  The warship has been hauled to Pearl Harbor where it will undergo repairs in dry dock.

The commanding officer, Captain John Carroll, has been relieved of his command pending further investigation of the incident.

There are reports of a slight oil sheen in the area where the ship went aground, but that it is not a threat to marine life or the coastline, as the thin layer of fuel with burn off quickly with the sun.

UPDATE Feb 19 from

Divers from the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Navy have been working cooperatively over the course of this week to assess the extent of the grounding scar from USS Port Royal (CG 73) and to undertake emergency restoration activities on the impacted reef.  Meanwhile, the guided-missile cruiser entered drydock at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Feb. 18 to repair damage sustained when it ran aground the night of Feb. 5 a half-mile off Honolulu Airport’s Reef Runway. After three unsuccessful attempts, the Pearl Harbor ship was refloated early Feb. 9.

An assessment of the damage to the ship and the repair efforts that will be needed are ongoing.

Back in the water, state DLNR representatives and Navy divers are making good progress in initial restoration efforts.

“Although initial reports indicated that the ship had grounded on a rock and sand bottom, our subsequent surveys have shown that there is in fact coral reef,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

“Divers from our Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) are now working in cooperation with counterparts from the Navy to ensure that no further damage occurs, and to map the full extent of the grounding scar.”

Continue to full article from HERE

UPDATE March 3

Via the Associated Press:

HONOLULU (AP) — The USS Port Royal’s ballistic missile defense capabilities were damaged when the $1 billion cruiser ran aground off Hawaii last month, a newspaper reported.

The Navy Times, citing a Navy preliminary damage assessment it had obtained, said in a story Monday that the shock of rolling on a coral reef for three days damaged the vessel’s antennae and missile launch cells, and knocked the ship’s Aegis radar arrays out of alignment.

The assessment goes beyond the damage the Navy noted after an initial inspection of the ship, which included a cracked sonar dome and sheared-off propeller blades.

Navy officials declined to comment on the newspaper report. The Navy won’t release damage details, or estimate how much repairs will cost, until it has completed a final damage assessment, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Jon Yoshishige said. He didn’t know when that would be.

Continue to Full Article

Update: July 15, 2009

This update on the Feb. 5th USS Port Royal grounding incident comes after the topic has has started to pick up some steam again on the gCaptain forum following a report recently released by the Navy Safety Investigation Board.  According to the report, a misinterpreted navigation system, a sleep-deprived skipper, faulty equipment and an inexperienced bridge team were all found to have led to the grounding.

Read more about this report and reactions from Forum members HERE or continue reading for gCaptain’s full coverage of the USS Port Royal incident.

See gCaptain’s full list of incident photos HERE

USS Port Royal Grounding Photos:

Navy Destroyer Port Royal Aground
Hard aground

USS Port Royal grounded off the coast

Above photo via Starbulletin

Above photo via Honolulu Advertiser


Above photo via

Coast Guard overflight of USS Port Royal grounding site
Overflight of the location shows an "oil sheen" on the ocean surface
USS Port Royal sits in drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyards
USS Port Royal sits in drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard - Image: courtesy

About USS Port Royal (CG-73):

USS Port Royal (CG 73) is a United States Navy guided missile cruiser, the 27th and final ships in the Ticonderoga-class.  The vessel was ordered on February 25, 1988, laid down on October 18, 1991, launched on November 20, 1992 and formally commissioned on July 9, 1994.

Additional Info:

Class and type: Ticonderoga-class cruiser
Displacement: approx. 9,600 tons full load
Length: 567 feet (173 m)
Beam: 55 feet (17 m)
Draught: 33 feet (10 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Complement: 33 officers & 327 enlisted

USS Port Royal Wikipedia Page

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