NAVSEA chief calls on increased focus on fire safety in shipyards

By Aidan Quigley / September 16, 2020 at 3:27 PM

Naval shipyards must retain the increased focus on fire safety that has followed the July fire aboard the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), according to the head of Naval Sea Systems Command.

Vice Adm. William Galinis said Wednesday that every shipyard had reviewed its fire safety procedures in recent months.

"It's something you can never let up on," Galinis said Wednesday at the American Society of Naval Engineers' Fleet Maintenance & Modernization Symposium.

"You kind of take the traditional model, where you have an event and you do the investigation and there is a series of corrective actions, you take the action, and over time, focus on those areas tends to die off a little bit," he said. "We've got to keep that attention level on this area."

The July 12 fire caused serious damage to the Bonhomme Richard, which was undergoing maintenance at Naval Base San Diego. Galinis said he would not comment on the investigation into the fire, which is ongoing.

The Navy is considering its repair options for the ship, the admiral said.

Shipyards should continue to look at the condition of temporary services and ensure that quick disconnect fittings are in the right location as they transit through an access opening, according to Galinis.

Shipyard leadership should focus on procedural compliance, assessing real-time risk and eliminating any unsafe work practices, he said.