The Navy prosecutes sailors for setting fire that destroyed a warship


San Diego (AP) —The US Navy charged sailors with a fire on Thursday that destroyed USS Bonhomme Richard, anchored off San Diego.

The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days. The ship was later abandoned due to extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage remaining. Estimates to replace it have reached $ 4 billion.

The sailor was Cmdr, the crew at the time. Sean Robertson, a spokesman for the United States Third Fleet, said in a statement. According to Robertson, the sailors were charged with exacerbated arson and the deliberate danger of the vessel. The name was not announced.

No other details were provided and it was unclear what evidence was found or what motivated it.

The amphibious assault ship is one of the few US fleets that can act as a small aircraft carrier.

Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade, which was estimated to cost $ 250 million when the fire broke out on July 12, 2020.

Approximately 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames emitted a large amount of dark smoke from an 840-foot (256-meter) ship moored at the San Diego Naval Base during the upgrade.

The fire broke out in the lower storage area of ​​the ship, where cardboard boxes, rags, and other maintenance supplies were stored. However, the wind from San Diego Bay blew the flames away, spreading them to the elevator shafts and exhaust stacks.

It was then even bigger with two explosions, one heard 13 miles (21 km) away.

The fire sent stimulating smoke over San Diego, and authorities advised people to avoid outdoor exercise.

Firefighters attacked the flames on board, a fireboat equipped with a water cannon directed the flow of seawater toward the ship, and a helicopter created water droplets.

More than 60 seafarers and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.