NASSCO plans up to 350 layoffs after accident at graving dock


(SAN DIEGO) — General Dynamics NASSCO plans to lay off 300 to 350 workers at its shipyard here over the next several months, a development related to the flooding of a graving dock in July, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

In a notice filed with the state, NASSCO listed 1,493 jobs that could be affected. But in a statement sent to the California Employment Division Department, NASSCO President Kevin Graney said he anticipated that only about one-fifth of those potential layoffs could occur between late September and early October.

NASSCO does not know how long the layoffs could last but said they may extend through the rest of this year.

The accident occurred when a barrier keeping water out of the graving dock holding the expeditionary sea base Miguel Keith (ESB 5) collapsed.

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The following is text of a report from USNI News:

(SAN DIEGO) — A graving dock at General Dynamics NASSCO flooded on July 11, floating an under-construction expeditionary sea base ship off its docking blocks and allowing the ship to take on water.

The future Miguel Keith (ESB 5) was in a graving dock at the San Diego ship construction yard when, according to local media, a barrier that holds back seawater collapsed.

“The ship floated off the docking blocks and took on water through hull cuts that were made to support the ship’s construction and outfitting,” Naval Sea Systems Command spokeswoman Colleen O’Rourke told USNI News.

NASSCO spokesman Dennis DuBard told USNI News that “there was a flooding incident with the graving dock used to support construction of the future USNS Miguel Keith (ESB 5). There were no injuries. The ship is safe and in stable condition. Personnel are currently assessing impact to the ship.”

Aerial footage from San Diego television stations showed significant debris and water in the dry dock.

Miguel Keith will be the Navy’s third expeditionary sea base ship, and the fifth auxiliary overall delivered by NASSCO based on the Alaska-class oil tanker design. The ESB ships basically scoop out the middle of the oil tanker design, leaving that massive open space to support a mission bay below – to operate small boats and unmanned vehicles for special operations and mine countermeasures – as well as helicopters on a flight deck above.

NASSCO laid the keel for Miguel Keith in January. The ship is named after Miguel Keith, a Marine and Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War era.

The first ESB, USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), was commissioned a warship last summer when it arrived in U.S. 5th Fleet, where it continues to serve today. The second ESB, USNS Woody Williams (T-ESB 4), arrived at Naval Station Norfolk earlier this month after departing San Diego.

By Professional Mariner Staff