Navy to repair nuclear submarine in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine — The Navy intends to repair a nuclear-powered attack submarine that was severely damaged by a fire while in dry dock and then return it to the fleet, Navy officials said Friday.

While engineering assessments are ongoing, the Navy has decided to repair the USS Miami and is committed to doing so, said Lieutenant Courtney Hillson. “Our goal is to return the Miami to the fleet because this makes sense operationally and fiscally.”

There had been lingering questions over whether it would make financial sense to repair the 22-year-old submarine, which is based in Groton, Conn. Early estimates put the damage at $400 million.


A former shipyard worker from Portsmouth, N.H., is charged with setting the fire on May 23 while the sub was in dry dock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, for a 20-month overhaul.

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The fire caused heavy damage to forward compartments including living quarters, a command and control center, and the torpedo room, but did not reach the back of the submarine, where the nuclear propulsion components are located.

Two crew members, three shipyard firefighters, and two civilian firefighters were hurt.

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican and a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, said the committee has approved $150 million to begin repairs.

Senator Olympia Snowe, also a Maine Republican, said she will work with other lawmakers and stakeholders to ensure that shipyard workers have ‘‘the resources they require to rapidly return the USS Miami to sea.’’