Friday, July 20, 2012

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard First Responders Honored, Commended for Work Battling USS Miami Fire

New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Kelly Ayotte (R) at ceremony honoring first responders at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (courtesy photo)
New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) were in Portsmouth Monday, July 16, to honor the emergency first responders responsible for containing the fire aboard the USS Miami this past May. Shaheen and Ayotte presented a Senate Resolution recognizing the responders, which they introduced along with U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The June 7 resolution commends the service of all those who responded to the fire, minimized damage to the submarine and ensured there was no loss of life.
Shaheen and Ayotte presented the Senate resolution they and other New England senators sponsored to commend the first responders at a ceremony at Prescott Park in Portsmouth.
Last week, the Navy convened a special panel to investigate the May 23 fire that damaged the USS Miami while it was in dry dock for an overhaul at the shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The investigation was ordered by U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. Early estimates put the fire damage at $400 million. It damaged the torpedo room, crew quarters, and command and control areas.
“Your swift response and commitment to containing the fire helped minimize damage to the submarine and more importantly, ensured that no one lost a life that day,” Senator Shaheen said. “The men and women who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard have an incredible track record of working together and getting the job done. To everyone who worked together to respond to May’s fire: thank you for your professionalism, your quick response, and your continued commitment to serving and protecting our country. The courage and cooperation we saw in May stands as inspiration for all of us.”
Maine U.S. Senator Susan Collins said “When the alarm rings, as it did on May 23rd at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, we see just how brave our first responders are.  They never hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way.  They risk their lives to save others.” Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee added in a prepared statement “I am hopeful the USS Miami can be repaired in Kittery because the shipyard workers are the best at what they do.  The sooner this submarine returns to the fleet, the sooner it will be available to complete missions essential to our national security throughout the world.”