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Navy investigates possible U.S.S. Alaska sabotage
"Navy officials are investigating a possible sabotage attempt on board the Trident submarine USS Alaska currently undergoing a backfit conversion overhaul at PSNS. Damaged equipment, possibly severed electrical cables, were discovered on board the submarine late last summer. But Navy officials will not reveal the exact nature of the damage according to PSNS PAO Mary Ann Mascianica. The damage appeared to be deliberate and Naval Criminal Investigative Services opened a formal investigation, Mascianica said. The damage did not compromise the safety of personnel working on the ship. Specific details will not be released while the investigation is underway. Since its commissioning in 1986 as the Navy's seventh Trident submarine, the nuclear-powered Alaska has carried 24 Trident 1, C-4 nuclear missiles. It's the first Subase Bangor-based Trident to receive the newer more powerful and accurate D-5 missile, a process that started in April of this year. The D-5 missile was already equipped on board the 10 newer Trident submarines homeported at Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Ga. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, a Democrat from Belfair, said in broadcast comments Friday, that the destruction of government property is being scrutinized carefully. This is something that has to be taken extremely seriously by the Navy and they are. Sometimes in the past this has happened when you have a disgruntled employee or a disgruntled sailor who is trying to delay going back to sea. The shipyard is taking this very seriously, Dicks said. He added that it has been more than a quarter of a century since there was an act of sabotage at PSNS. The U.S. military and specifically the Navy has been on a heightened level of security worldwide since the Oct. 12, terrorist attack on the guided- missile-destroyer USS Cole as it refueled in Aden Harbor, in Yemen. But Dicks does not see this apparent act of sabotage as having anything to do with foreign terrorists or terrorism in general. Nobody's allowed on that ship except the people that are working on it both civilians and there are a number of sailors. But this is not being done by some foreign entity, this is a problem within the yard itself. There will be a complete shakedown of the ship at the end of its backfit at PSNS which will conclude in less than a year according to Mascianica. It is the Navy's practice to thoroughly test all equipment and systems before they are brought back on line or put into service. The shipyard will ensure all systems are working before returning any ship to the fleet, Mascianica said. "