NORFOLK-- The Norfolk-based guided missile destroyer USS Porter returned to Norfolk Sunday with the USS Enterprise Carrier Strike Group.
For the first time, the ship’s sailors spoke about being struck broadside by a Panamanian-flagged, Japanese-owned oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Aug. 12.
USS Porter Damage Control Assistant Lt. Shaun Geary said it was a shock.
“Everybody remained calm and cool and I think that’s the biggest takeaway from this. Our training was so effective, and we’re so good at what we do, that it’s kind of like going through the motions, saving our ship and saving our shipmates,” said Geary.
The sailors say it took about two hours to control compartment flooding. Once that danger passed, the ship proceeded to the United Arab Emirates, where it was out of commission for about seven weeks. It underwent about $700,000 worth of repairs, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
None of USS Porter’s 270 crew members were hurt in the accident, but the commanding officer did lose his job. It was announced on Aug.30 that Cmdr. Martin Arriola had been relieved of duty, due to a lack of confidence in his ability to lead.
The new captain, Cmdr. Dave Richardson, reports that the Porter is now “fully capable,” but, “I wouldn’t say it’s as good as new.”
Richardson said upon the ship’s return to Norfolk Sunday, “The repair that was done was a voyage repair to get the ship operational to come back to the continental United States. But, there are certain repairs that need to be done to get back to specifications, so we’ll do those as part of our planned availability next year.
USS Porter is also scheduled to receive upgrades to its ballistic missile defense system in preparation for its homeport shift to Rota, Spain in 2015.