The Navy‘s new $4 billion warship is in Panama for repairs after suffering a breakdown while passing through the Panama Canal on Monday evening.
A spokesman for U.S. 3rd Fleet, Cmdr. Ryan Perry, told Military.com that the commander of 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, had instructed the USS Zumwalt, the first in a new class of stealthy destroyers, to remain at ex-Naval Station Rodman in Panama to address the engineering casualty.
“The timeline for repairs is being determined now, in direct coordination with Naval Sea Systems and Naval Surface Forces,” he said in a statement. “The schedule for the ship will remain flexible to enable testing and evaluation in order to ensure the ship’s safe transit to her new homeport in San Diego.”
An official confirmed to Military.com that the ship had been transiting south through the canal en route to its new San Diego homeport when the incident occurred. The ship had to be towed to pier by the Panama Canal Authority, the official said.
While details about what caused the breakdown were few, Navy Times — which first reported the incident — cited reports about problems with heat exchangers in the ship’s integrated power plant that had contributed to the mishap.
It’s not the first casualty for the Zumwalt, which was commissioned just last month, on Oct. 15. In September, ahead of its commissioning, the Zumwalt was sidelined due to a problem in its engineering plant, USNI News reported.
Navy officials said the problem was discovered after crew found a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system of one of the ship’s shafts. That repair was completed at Naval Station Norfolk.
The ship also made headlines earlier this month when multiple outlets reported that the missiles fired from its 155mm Advanced Gun System, at $800,000 apiece, were too expensive for the Navy to buy in large quantities, raising questions about the effectiveness of the ship’s weapons.
The Zumwalt, and the two ships planned to follow it, will be assigned to the Pacific as part of the regional rebalance, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in April.