The Ohio submarine (SSGN 726) is seen in drydock undergoing a conversion from a Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) to a Guided Missile Submarine (SSGN) at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. US Navy’s photo
WASHINGTON – The United States Navy (US) announced the closure of four dry docks in the Seattle area due to concerns over the safety risks posed if a major earthquake struck the area.
These 4 dry docks are already struggling to meet maintenance needs for US nuclear powered attack submarines.
“Three nuclear-certified dry docks at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington and one slot at the Trident Refit Facility near Bangor, have suspended the submarine dock for further evaluation and upgrade,” the US Navy said in a statement.
Officials did not elaborate on what the recently completed seismic studies had shown. They also did not offer an estimate for how long the affected dry docks would be out of operation.
“The seismic assessment identified potential problems associated with the low probability of a large-scale earthquake occurring concurrent with the availability of submarine maintenance,” the Navy said.
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They added, “With this new information, the Navy is taking additional steps to better ensure the safety of the shipyard workforce, seafarers, local communities, the environment, and submariners.”
The Pacific Northwest lies near the Cascadia subduction zone, a fault line that runs 700 miles along the coast, from Vancouver Island to northern California.
Scientists warn the fault is capable of releasing “megathrust” earthquakes above 9.0 on the Richter scale, like the one in 1700.
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