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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 12:28 p.m., Friday, March 6, 2009

REPORT TONES DOWN DAMAGE TO WARSHIP
Navy says Port Royal repairs to run between $25 million and $40 million

By William Cole
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A Navy report today said repairs to the warship Port Royal will run between $25 million and $40 million, contradicting rumors that the ship was so badly damaged it will need to be mothballed.

U.S. Navy photo by Michael F. Laley

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The Navy today said repairs to the damaged cruiser Port Royal should cost between $25 million to $40 million as a result of a three-and-a-half day grounding off the airport reef runway.

A release from U.S. Pacific Fleet said a "majority" of the damage assessment has been done.

The actual cost will depend on what the damage assessment reveals as well as public shipyard and private shipyard labor and material costs, the Navy said.

Costs identified in the preliminary estimate include repairing or replacing the ship's sonar dome and transducers (if required), refurbishment of the two propulsion shafts, which still have to be removed, rotated and fully inspected, and re-painting of the underwater hull, according to the release.

The length of the repair period will be determined upon completion of the damage assessment.

"We still need to do a final structural analysis of the sonar dome, determine the number of transducers that require replacement and complete the assessment of the propulsion train to establish if there is any misalignment," said Capt. Rick Tate of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's Industrial Management Department.

The propeller blades, sonar dome and underwater hull were among items damaged on the 567-foot-long guided-missile cruiser. Critical systems including the vertical launch cell hatches and other weapons systems, the Aegis radar system, ballistic missile defense capability, surface-search radar, anchors, antennae and gas-turbine engines were not damaged, the Navy said.

The latest damage report toned down recent published reports that pointed to more extensive damage.

The news today also put to rest rumors that the damages were so great to the Port Royal that the $1 billion cruiser would be mothballed instead of repaired.

The ship ran aground on Feb. 5 in 17 to 22 feet of water on the first day of sea trials following $18 million in repairs and refurbishment on many of the items that now need to be addressed again.

The Port Royal was refloated early Feb. 9 and towed to Pearl Harbor, where it entered dry dock No. 4 on Feb. 18.

Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.