Die Welt (Germany): lit landing ship, in the port of San Diego- the threat of disaster

At the port of San Diego for the past two days burning warship of the U.S. Navy. There is a threat of flooding. In this case, it will be the biggest loss of the American Navy in its history. The fire occurred at a very unusual reason.

The American warship Bonhomme Richard, there is one feature: it can be used in the course of military operations for landing. On the upper deck are helicopters and aircraft vertical takeoff and landing. In the hold of the ship can carry additional landing boats. Now, however, built 23 years ago, superminiature dies from fire in his home port of San Diego. His loss would be one of the largest losses of the American Navy in history.

Sunday at 08:30 local time, after an explosion in one of the lower decks was a cargo fire detected. The exact cause and details unknown. But even after two days to extinguish a fire failed, although it is trying to put out several hundred firefighters have at their disposal helicopters and boats.

Experts believe that the on-Board temperature probably exceeded 1000 degrees, have damaged the steel structure of the ship, built by the American military group Northrop Grumman and costing about $ 750 million.

News Agency AP assumes even greater consequences: the 255-foot ship could sink, but he has on Board the remains of several million liters of fuel. This may cause an ecological disaster. The U.S. coast guard has called on the help of professionals to eliminate oil stains from the surface of the water.

A threat to one of the largest losses in history

In the last two years fighting ship remained in home port San Diego and went through the upgrade, valued at more than $ 250 million. The ship had to be converted to new American aircraft F-35B.

During modernization works on Board were only 160 people instead of the usual 1000. So, fortunately, the fire has not claimed any human life. At least 59 people, including 36 members of the crew and 23 civilian, suffered burns and smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

On the one hand, the fact that on Board there were few people, is a lucky coincidence. On the other hand, experts point out that a warship with a full crew needs to be able to fight the fire.

The fire spread around the body, because, according to American military newspaper Stars and Stripes, fire extinguishing system was in the process of conversion and could not be involved. By the way, it works on trifloromethyl, which harm the ozone layer of the Earth.

The fire can be stopped, cutting off oxygen. The use of fire extinguishers on trifloromethyl in 2004 and banned in the EU (with certain exceptions), including aboard military ships and aircraft.

If the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard will indeed be completely destroyed, that, according to the newspaper Stars and Stripes, will be one of the largest losses in the entire history of the us Navy.

A ship descended from slipways in 1997 and adopted in the fall of 1998, has a length of 257 meters and a displacement of about 40 thousand tons. The American aircraft carrier Lexington in 1942 attacked Japanese troops and sunk during combat in the coral sea off the coast of Australia, had a length of 270 meters and a displacement of 42 tons.