U.S. Cruiser Sent Back to Port for Corrosion-Related Leak

USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) sails alongside the supply ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE-8) during a replenishment-at-sea on April 28, 2020. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

The United States Naval Institute (USNI) (Annapolis, Maryland, USA) recently reported that USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) was returned to Naval Station Norfolk so that it could undergo a “technical assessment” for a fuel leak. According to a statement from the U.S. 2nd Fleet—a numbered fleet responsible for the East Coast and North Atlantic Ocean—the cause of the Vella Gulf leak was “single tank corrosion.”

“Repair timeline is under refinement and upon completion; the ship will resume its mission,” says a spokesperson for the U.S. 2nd Fleet. “Vella Gulf remains in a deployed status, and safety measures are in place to ensure the crew remains COVID- free during the repair.”

After a two-week period of repairs, Vella Gulf was sent back out to sea. However, the ship quickly returned to Virginia for additional repairs on the same oil tank. According to U.S. 2nd Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Marycate Walsh, it has not been determined whether this a new leak or if the ship’s recent repairs did not remain intact.

The USS Vella Gulf is a guided-missile cruiser that deployed on February 19 as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. However, by February 26, the crew noticed the leak that resulted in the ship being pulled back to port in Virginia. The leak was detected while the cruiser was sailing through high seas, though there is no evidence that the sea state caused the leak.

In an earlier statement, Walsh says that the rest of the fleet in the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group was still operational and not affected by the mishap that affected Vella Gulf.

Source: USNI News, https://news.usni.org.