Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery Had Another Hull Cracking Collision

Littoral Combat Ships just can’t win.

byTyler Rogoway|
U.S. Navy photo


The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships have had a terrible spate of mechanical failures and accidents, but the latest aboard the USS Montgomery (LCS-8) takes the cake. The ship's aluminum exterior has fractured for the second time in just two months. This, after suffering two different major mechanical failures while trying to transit to her new homeport of San Diego. This most recent mishap came while the aluminum trimaran was passing through the Panama Canal on its second attempt at finishing its voyage to Southern California.

On October 29th the ship collided with one of locks’ concrete walls while under the control of a canal pilot. A statement from the 3rd Fleet obtained by USNI News read:

“On Oct. 29 USS Montgomery (LCS-8) sustained damage to her hull while transiting southbound through the Gatun and Pedro Miguel locks of the Panama Canal. Under control of the local Panama Canal Pilot, the ship impacted the center lock wall and sustained an 18-inch-long crack between her port quarter and transom plates. The crack is located 8-10 feet above the waterline and poses no water intrusion or stability risk.”

It is not exactly clear how this mishap happened, much larger warships have passed through the canal for over a century with few mishaps. The USS Montgomery is apparently continuing on to San Diego, where it will be repaired. 

What appears to be an Essex class carrier passes through the Panama Canal in the 1940s. 

The last fissure in the Montgomery's hull occurred on October 4th, when the ship collided with a tugboat as it was heading to sea to escape Hurricane Mathew. The ship was docked at Naval Station Mayport at the time after it had to turn back from its initial voyage to San Diego following the detection of a seawater leak in the ship’s hydraulic cooling system. While the crew was dealing with the leak, USS Montgomery experienced a catastrophic failure of one of its gas turbine engines.

The ship was commissioned on September 13th. 

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USS Montgomery dockside at sunset. , Austal