Surface Forces: Sandstorms Sink Ships

Archives

August 7, 2006: The U.S. Navy is finding that operating in the Persian Gulf is more expensive in ways they had not anticipated. The biggest problems are the combination of heat (this is one of the hottest places where American ships are regularly at sea) and the fine sand and abundant dust. This sand and dust blows out to sea for quite a distance. Actually, on some days, you will find yourself steaming into a "mist" of dust no matter where you are out there. The smaller ships, like mine sweepers, patrol boats and amphibious craft, have it the worst. More of their gear is exposed to the sun and sand, and their crews are relatively smaller. This means fewer manhours available for extra maintenance. The damage piles up, and the navy is finding that many of these smaller ships will need overhauls earlier, and more maintenance on a regular basis, just to keep them in service.
Another maintenance problem was caused by the "Sea Swap" program, where smaller ships get their crews replaced every six months, instead of ship and crew steaming back to home port after six months. The different crews don't have the same intimate knowledge of a ships quirks, just experience working on a nearly identical ship of the same class. Thus some maintenance problems got worse. Moreover, pre-Sea Swap, the voyage to and from the Gulf gave the crew time to do more maintenance. Now, a Sea Swap crew flies into the Bahrain, spends a few days with the departing crew, and gets right to work.
The navy is taking all this seriously, and is revising how it does maintenance with Sea Swap crews, and smaller ships.

 


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close