One of the U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship is finally underway to her homeport in Mayport, Florida after spending the winter stuck in ice in Montreal.
The ship, USS Little Rock, was supposed to head to Naval Station Mayport following her snowy commissioning in Buffalo, New York last December. But, while transiting the St. Lawrence River on her way to the Atlantic Ocean, some relatively minor damage to cables sent her back to Montreal for repairs. By the time repairs could be made in early January, however, winter ice had already set in and the ship and her crew were stuck pier-side for the winter.
After three months of winter, Little Rock finally departed Montreal last Saturday under escort by the Canadian Coast Guard ship Des Groseilliers.
Photos of the Little Rock making her way down the St. Lawrence River were posted online:
#CCGShip DES GROSEILLIERS escorting the “USS Little Rock” this morning, 31-Mar-18, passing off the anchorage to Sorel-Tracy, QC. @CoastGuardCAN #CCGProud Photo by: René Beauchamp. Via: Shipspotting C.C.G. https://t.co/VNlvVw2uDH and https://t.co/3urzFGe8Xhpic.twitter.com/tyhhOGmd3W
— C.C.G. Facebook (@CCGAtlantic) April 1, 2018
USS Little Rock is the 11th littoral combat ship (LCS) to be delivered to the Navy and the fifth of the Freedom variant to join the fleet. The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the vessel during a ceremony on September 25, 2017 at the Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, where the Freedom variant ships are built.
Little Rock’s departure from Montreal comes just a few days after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s navigation season.
She is expected to arrive in Florida next month after making several port visits along the way.
The LCS-class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1) and Austal USA (for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered hulls), respectively. Twenty-seven LCS ships have been awarded to date, including 11 that have been delivered to the Navy, 13 are in various stages of construction, and three are in pre-production states.
The latest littoral combat ship to be commissioned was the USS Omaha, an Independence variant, this past February.