Sunday, October 28, 2007
Fire broke out in the engine room of a U.S. Aegis-equipped destroyer during a friendship port call at Kagoshima last November, but its captain ordered his crew to conceal the damage, according to a Navy Times report. Neither the Japan Coast Guard nor local Japanese authorities received any information of the blaze aboard the USS Halsey, Japanese officials said Friday. The Navy Times reported that the fire broke out in the main engine room aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, equipped with the sophisticated Aegis air defense system, on the night of Nov. 2 following an official reception for 40 local Japanese dignitaries. "Some of the sailors were too drunk to even don their firefighting gear.
USS Halsey (DDG-97)During and after the fire, the captain remained in his stateroom — despite pleas from his officers to take charge of the situation," according to the report. "When the fire broke out, some were too drunk to respond. The next day, Halsey skipper Cmdr. John Pinckney ordered his crew to conceal the extent of the damage," the report said. "Later in the deployment, the same piece of machinery exploded, forcing the Halsey to return to San Diego, and the coverup was revealed," it said. The Navy was stuck with an $8.5 million repair bill and Pinckney was relieved of duty Feb. 2 following a preliminary inquiry and administrative proceeding, the report said. The preliminary investigation "reveals Pinckney's attempt to conceal from his chain of command the details of the fire in one of the ship's two main reduction gears," it said.