Collision

Around 1986 off South Carolina the LA MOURE COUNTY collided with the HERMITAGE.

BM1 Gregory Hausler recalls:

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Immediately following the collision, HTC Harp (LCPO R-Div.) went to the forecastle and instructed Deck personnel present to run a Boatswains chair through the Bullnose so he could drop down and access the damage to the bow. CWO3 Belton (R-Div. Officer/DCA) soon arrived on scene and was informed by Chief Harp that the damage did not appear too severe; and that we, meaning R-Division,could probably repair the damage.

After a thorough inspection below decks to rule out any fires or loss of water tight integrity. the ship was directed to make for the closest Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. The Base Repair personnel determined after assessing the damage that this was beyond their scope. Mr Belton requested that Floating/Stationary scaffolding be brought to site and R-Division would attempt to repair the damaged areas.  CWO3 Belton and his fine crew were as good as his word. They cut all the jagged metal away, ground down the rough edges and installed New plate Steel over both the bow and the area on the starboard side that had been pierced by the fluke of the starboard anchor during the collision.

The Bow area was then repainted. Considering all the dents and dings that the old Herm' had suffered in her career, the "new" area blended in well! Unfortunately, upon the ship's return to Little Creek, "Big Navy" decided that the R-Division repair was inferior. The contract was given to some local "sand crabs," who promptly removed all the good work the Repair guys had accomplished, and replaced it with "new." They overchanrged the Navy for the work!

To the best of my knowledge the root cause of the collision was that the Conning Officer for this along side evolution, lost situational awareness of both his speed and relative distance from the HERMITAGE. When it became obvious that a collision was imminent, the LA MOURE COUNTY had neither the time nor the distance to avoid striking the HERMITAGE starboard side forward. The bow damage was a glancing blow from the LA MOURE COUNTY's port side stern as she attempted to pull away from us.  Now I dont know how much truth there is to this, but according to crew members from the LA MOURE COUNTY, the "CO" had the conn. He panicked when the collision became unavoidable, and it was the Boatswain's of the Watch who ordered the Helmsman to take the corrective action that prevented more extensive damage to both vessels.
------Gregory Hausler gregory_hausler@yahoo.com


BM2 "Turk" Turney comments

This is BM2 Turney. I was aboard the Herm operating the old B&A crane starboard side even when we collided. I was holding on to the hand rail on top of the crane as it shook. Quite an experience I would say.
Here is a pix I have of that docked in Cuba. Sorry for the quality lost many things in a flood.

Regards,

Scott Turney (BM2 "Turk" Turney)
axle1_us2000@comcast.net
85-87


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