Just my .02, but based on what I’m seeing/hearing, I think the Bonnie Dick is done for…

Some pics from various sources tell the story.

Forward mast collapsed due to superstructure melting out from under it

Holes burned through from the hangar deck to the flight deck. Helos were dropping water in these holes to try to put out the fire on the hangar deck.

The hangar deck looking up toward the superstructure through a hole in the flight deck.

Not sure where this is, other than deeper in the ship. Massive damage, melted/warped steel bulkheads.

2 years, millions of dollars of upgrades lost, a ship that will not be able to be returned to service soon, if ever, and a heavier load on the remaining ships until one of the old ships can be brought back from the White Fleet to pick up the load.

A lesson learned about keeping at least ONE firefighting system operable on a ship when it’s in upkeep/maintenance…

But no lives were lost, and kudos to the duty section and away fire parties from the other ships at the pier that managed to contain the fire and keep the ship from sinking at the pier. You did the best you could with what you had, in the best traditions of the Navy, you NEVER gave up. Thank you.


Dammit… — 22 Comments

  1. Unpossible!

    All the WTC deniers told me that fire can’t melt steel!


    Seriously, that’s a sad sight.
    Kudos to the fire crews, and “bonne chance” to any replacement.

  2. Steel, when exposed to a fire of that magnitude, loses its strength. I’m afraid she’s a gone pecan.

    She was based in Dubai when I was there several years ago. She was parked in a barren part of the port of Jebel Ali. There were very few places for entertainment for sailors on liberty who want to cut loose and party. The USO had set up some tents dockside so they could at least get off the ship for a short time. It had to be a miserable place for them.

  3. It looks like photos of the USS Franklin after the kamikaze hit.

  4. BHR is finished. There is no need to throw money at her at this point. There are a lot of lessons learned, I would hope.

  5. Sadly, she looks like a total write-off. A big thank you to the crews that saved lives and limited damage to the extent possible. A fire watch with a couple of fire extinguishers is no substitute for fixed fire suppression systems with that level of combustable material.

    Just my humble opinion, but it sounds like poor planning and worse execution combined with a cost cutting mentality (“we can work all these high risk activities simultaneously, rather than dividing the work into more manageable tasks”) were the main causes.

  6. Hey Old NFO;

    Even as an Army guy those pics hurt and as a dedicated squid to you and yours, those pics are downright painful. damm. I still want to find out what happened and if there was malfeasance, burn who was responsible be it individual or organization. Much dedication and admiration to the crews that kept it contained and away from other ships and structures while the Bonnie Dick was burning in the finest tradition of the U.S Navy.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s off to the breakers in 6 months or so.

    Frightening. People think ships are safe, and take cruises on these things that have even worse maintenance records than our Lightbringer era ships have.

  8. All- Thanks for the comments. The Navy Relief Society is headquartered in the ONR building in Ballston, VA. I knew a few folks that worked on that floor. 93% of the monies collected go to serve the Sailors and Marines. https://nmcrs.org/

    Posted from my iPhone.

  9. Landlubber here.. but, SERIOUSLY.. NOT *ONE* firefighting system active on a SHIP, even in dock?

    Ox slow, but DAMN!

    Fire NOT a friend!
    Fire dangerous servant.
    Fire EVIL master.

    • There are multiple levels of fail there. The prime contractor will likely be left holding the bag, three or four years from now once the rest of those responsible have managed to distance themselves from the disaster.

      The Navy *knows* about fire and how to prevent it. Ships are floating fuel tanks; fire isn’t just a theoretical hazard, even when bad guys aren’t trying to turn them into torches. I don’t know, maybe the Captain and fire control crews were officially out of the chain of responsibility while in drydock, but that still leaves plenty of other people to explain why and how it happened.

      People keep cheering those little pumpers and the helo drops, but what I took away from it was that all they accomplished was (maybe) keeping the fuel from igniting. Looked like a pretty pitiful effort at fire extinguishing to me… and that’s something the drydock people should have had plenty of – you have vessels with welding and grinding and fuel and some random mix of different contractors doing their things; the way I look at it, they shouldn’t just have had sufficient capacity to drown any fire, they should have had enough to handle more than one ship at a time, because Murphy is a right bastard.

      For that matter, the contractors have insurance companies, who are probably going to be looking into this too, because once the Navy decides which contractor they’re going to blame, some insurance company is going to take it right up the exhaust port.

  10. When I was deployed on the Midway in the ‘70’s we would see mini refits at our longer (two weeks) in-ports in Yokosuka. The really scary thing is not only is the fire fighting system disabled for maintenance, the water tight hatches are largely blocked open for cabling, hoses, etc. On a major yard period like the Bonny Dick was going through the crew is living on the beach so you only have the duty section on board. The air wing and Marine spaces were probably empty, and the fire started on a weekend where there wouldn’t be yard worker presence if I recall correctly. The fire was probably well established before it was discovered with no damage control available to respond. Really a sad perfect storm situation. That’s not to say there may be some negligence involved, but the conditions as far as ship and crew don’t sound unusual for a major refit.

  11. Couple of comments – first kudos to the fire crews – hot nasty work and NO casualties (maybe a few burns?). Whoever made up the non-fire plan – seriously no fire systems on line – needs to be held accountable.
    As a qualified fire investigator and marine casualty investigator – IMHO she’s likely a total write off. In retrospect – it might have been better to let her sink on site = would likely have resulted in less overall damage – still a huge salvage job but quire likely far less than the current situation.

  12. The “good” news is the devastated and destroyed parts are the cheapest parts.

    Word is the machinery spaces are nearly undamaged.

    That’s like 2/3 of the cost of the ship right there.

    As modular as these designs are, cut from the weakened deck up, weld on a new top half and still come out ahead of a complete new build.

    The real issue is our lack of yard space to do it in.

    We almost completely quit the ship building business as part of our peace dividend when The Cold War ended.

  13. drjim- Agreed!

    Angus- Sadly, it’s not that easy. INSURV will make the final decision, but that may take a year or more. We can’t wait for that…