By Paul Rossetti and John Wutzer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) conducted a tri-annual dry dock certification maintenance audit at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD).
The audit was performed on graving dock one to assess the material condition of the dock and evaluate the facility's maintenance program documentation.
The goal of the certification program is to ensure structural, mechanical and electrical systems are adequate to dry dock U.S. Navy ships as set forth by military standards. During the lay period, and depending on the level of work, a dry-docked ship may have some systems secured and could even have hull cuts. Therefore, a ship's safety often depends upon the integrity and safe operation of the dry dock.
"According to INFADS (Internet Navy Facility Assets Data Store), the median age of U.S. Navy-owned dry docks is 97 years," said NAVFAC EXWC Dry Dock Subject Matter Expert Paul Rossetti. "This subjects the structures to years of deterioration."
The July audit began with a functional test of the fire protection system of the dock. The inspection team then observed the operation of all dock mechanical systems, including the caisson flood valves and the dock's main dewatering pumps and drainage system. The team also inspected structural components of the dock, such as the interior of the caisson ballast tank, flooding tunnels, and the suction chamber. The floor, walls, and galleries were visually assessed for concrete condition. While the material condition inspection portion of the audit was being conducted, NAVSEA was reviewing the dry dock certification documentation.
Prior to the audit, the dock's certification was suspended due to inadequate fire protection pumping capacity. Other than fire protection pumps, the audit determined the inspected dock to be in satisfactory condition. It was also determined the pumping issue would be resolved by NAVFAC Southwest, in coordination with the inspection team prior to docking another U.S. Navy ship.
NAVSEA designs, builds, arms, overhauls and repairs the Navy's fleet and is responsible for the safety of vessels while under repair. NAVSEA created the dry dock certification program and is the program manager. Many of these docks were built by NAVFAC, which remains the cognizant authority for design, construction and repair. The NAVFAC EXWC dry dock subject matter expert provides NAVSEA with material condition expertise to support the comprehensive audit process.
"This program helps insure ship safety during the lay period for small ships, submarines, and even massive aircraft carriers," said Rossetti.
NBSD's graving dock one is just one of 26 Navy dry docks in the certification program. By helping to ensure safe and reliable dry docks, NAVFAC EXWC promotes timely servicing of naval vessels that serve the warfighter.