The US Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, the USS Little Rock, is stuck in ice in Montreal and will not be able to move until the spring thaw.
The USS Little Rock was commissioned on December 16 in Buffalo, New York, and scheduled to depart the following day for its home port at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida.
A sustained blast of Arctic air that extended from late December into January caused ice to form faster than normal within in the Seaway, according to the St Lawrence Seaway Management Corp, reports the Toronto Star.
The Seaway closed for the season on January 11 and will open again in March.
‘Significant weather conditions prevented the ship from departing Montreal earlier this month and icy conditions continue to intensify,’ a Navy spokesperson Lt Commander Courtney Hillson confirmed Friday.
‘The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January timeframe.’
‘Keeping the ship in Montreal until waterways are clear will ensure the safety of ship and crew, around 70 sailors, and will have limited impact on the ship’s operational schedule, Hillson said.
‘While in port, the crew of Little Rock will continue to focus on training, readiness and certifications,’ she said.
The USS Rock is the fifth Freedom-class littoral combat ship to join the fleet. The vessel is 389 feet long and has a top speed of over 45 knots (51mph), according to a Navy fact sheet.
It is outfitted with a helicopter pad and a ramp for small boats and is designed to carry out anti-surface, anti-mine, and anti-submarine operations.
Its flight deck is the largest of any US Navy surface combatant, and its weapons include an MK 31 Rolling Airframe Missile System, an MK 110 57mm gun, crew-served and small-caliber guns, and other weapons systems that can be tailored to specific missions.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 22nd, 2018