MSC ship bound for Gaza returns home after engine room fire

(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. Navy ship on its way to the Gaza Strip with parts for a  temporary pier for humanitarian relief returned home after experiencing a fire, the Navy said Wednesday.

USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK-3008) experienced a fire in its engine room on April 11 while it was on its way to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with equipment and personnel, USNI News reported.

The crew extinguished the fire and no injuries were reported. The ship returned to Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday for an assessment. The fire is under investigation, according to the Navy.

A roll-on, roll-off discharge platform is attached to USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo off Anmyeon Beach, Republic of Korea, during a joint logistics exercise in 2015. U.S. Army photo

Bobo is one of three transport ships that left for the Mediterranean starting in March as part of the Army-led joint mission to create a temporary pier to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, which Israel has largely closed off since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7.

Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships Bobo and USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK-3010) departed earlier this month with Army and Navy personnel and equipment that can build the roll-on, roll-off discharge platform. The U.S. sent the Ready Reserve Fleet ship M/V Roy P. Benavidez (T-AKR-306) with Army pier infrastructure last month.

The Navy statement did not indicate if there would be a delay to the floating pier as a result of Bobo’s delay. A defense official told USNI News the Navy was assessing how quickly it could repair Bobo and if it would need another ship to transport the Navy gear.

As of Tuesday, the pier is expected to be operational in late April or early May, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

By Professional Mariner Staff