Work to continue on USS Miami despite sequestration

Groton — Despite sequestration measures, repairs will continue to the Groton-based attack submarine USS Miami, according to a statement released Friday by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

The USS Miami was severely damaged in an arson fire last May while undergoing maintenance and upgrades at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine. Repairs began late last year under a $94 million contract between the Navy and Electric Boat, but it was uncertain until Friday whether sequestration measures would affect the project.

"This is the right decision for our submarine force, and for the talented men and women of Electric Boat who are already helping carry out the critical work of getting Miami back into service," said Courtney, serves on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

"Getting the Miami back into service is a top priority for our Navy, and their decision to move forward with this effort, even under tighter budget constraints, is yet another indication of the important role that our submarine force plays in the defense of our nation," he said.

Courtney toured the Miami in October to learn about the damage. He said after that tour that the submarine's hull appeared sound, but that it would need to be re-insulated, re-cabled and the fixtures that melted would need to be re-hung.

The fire caused more than $400 million in damage and injured seven firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze. Casey James Fury, a former shipyard worker, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for setting the USS Miami fire. He confessed to setting the fire to get out of work because he was suffering from anxiety and having problems with his ex-girlfriend, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

k.catalfamo@theday.com

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