Fire on USN Submarine-$400 Million in Damage?

I was reading about the recent fire on the USS Miami. The ship was in drydock for major repairs-and a fire started (somehow).
Anyway, the damage is estimated at $400 million-is it even worth repairing?
Second- a submarine is probably constructed with the least flammable stuff inside (as is possible)-how could such a raging fire have gotten out of control?
At lease there were no weapons on board, and the nuclear reactor was shut down.
At any rate, how long will it take to repair the ship? Would it be cheaper to build a new one?

Wikipedia says the new version of subs, the Virginia class, costs 2.4 billion per sub.

The U.S.S Miami is the previous version, Los Angeles Class.

Assuming costs are similar, than yes, it’s worth the 400 million to fix it.
I imagine alot of the money is actually to see if the sub is still structurally sound. Fatigued beams in a tin can built to handle enormous pressures seems like a recipe for disaster.

I’ll have to ask my step-father about it. He used to do ship refits for the Navy, including subs, I believe.


If they dont repair it, the shutdown costs probably arent small either, so they’d have to consider those as well as any replacement cost given they arent built any more.


Cleaning up the smoke and water damage to the electronics onboard will be a large part of the expense. It doesn’t take much of a fire to affect a lot of equipment.

Not to mention all the racks need to have the curtains and mattresses replaced, smoke soaks into fabrics and the foam used to make the mattresses and it pretty much can’t be removed. The seat cushions on the benches in the mess decks and any other cushioned seat on the boat, any other scrap of paper and fabric. Not sure what the faux wood wall panels are made of, but when they renovated my parents house after part of it burned down they had to replace pretty much every wall board of wood and wallboard because otherwise when the environment was warm and humid the whole place would start to smell of smoke again. The ventillation system would need work to get the soot and hydrocarbon and other chemical residue out or replace the vent runs totally.

The Miami was mrAru’s last boat in the Navy.

ex-submariner here.

The inside of a submarine is absolutely jam-packed full of stuff that will burn. Pretty much every compartment has fuel lines or hydraulic fluid or oxygen or explosives and any number of other combustibles.

Some of the nastier stuff is not present in dry dock but ships and submarines in dry dock are usually swarming with welders wielding welding torches and they are not always as careful as they should be.

Fires happen quite often - at least, they did on my submarine.


From what the local papers are reporting, the entire crew quarters and control center were completely gutted. Took 14 hours to extinguish the fire. Most of the rack mounted stuff had been removed and placed in storage when the overhaul started.

I’d venture a guess that the cost of repair would heavily weigh on when it was last refueled. The last LA class boat that got into trouble, with ramming a mountain at a high rate of speed, got its nose bent out of shape. Since the boat was recently refueled, at the time, they took the nose section off another boat that was going to be decommed and sent her on her merry way.

For this one, the actual cost of repairs might be actually less and that 400 mil being an accounting entry for new buy equipment , when in reality, the navy is simply going to use a bunch of spare parts from other boats that they have waiting to be decommisioned and turned into coral reefs.

My opinion


That made my eyes hurt!

Navy has issued preliminary report that fire started in a vacuum cleaner (shop vac?) stored in a closet. Probably safe to say someone vacuumed up hot welding slag and the fire smouldered in the debris for a while before being discovered.

And the 400 mil comes out of this poor guy’s paycheck.
He’s gonna be in the navy for a* long *time.

The Million Dollar Question (literally and many times over!) is whether the fire affected the integrity of the sub’s steel hull plating. If it did, the hull would doubtless lose its temper and with it the ability to resist compression at depth. Dealing with that would require something drastically expensive, like cutting out the affected section (sort of like slicing a hot dog across the middle of the long axis) and splicing in a new one. You as a taxpayer don’t even want to think about the expense of such a repair. It is probably more economical to turn the boat into a dockside static trainer and apply the repair money towards building a newer sub that would doubtless have improved capabilities over this one.

Update: It was arson.

So now we know whose paycheck is getting docked. If they take out, say, $200.00 a month (so he can still pay his other bills) that’s, um, 400 million /200 /12…166,666 years to pay off.

Unless there’s interest.

Not to mention if any of those $2 million toilet seats caught on fire!

Aw, I think they should give him a break on that.
He just wanted to see him GF, after all. :slight_smile:

Ex Submariner here too.

Just wanted to add that back in the day (Mid '80’s) the inside of submarine hulls (nicknamed “The People Tank” ) and frames were covered with a foam insulation that ignited VERY easily. The kicker was that once it ignited it spread incredibly fast AND gave off deadly fumes as well. I hope they changed that for the more modern subs. What were they thinking? :confused:

Yeah, that does sound like a less than optimum idea.