Dropping The Top – Destroyer MICHAEL MONSOOR Gets A Deckhouse

It was a dark and stormy night – – really — on the evening of November 13-14 in Bath, Maine, home of shipbuilders Bath Iron Works. Rain turned to snow as the shipyard prepared to execute one of the trickiest maneuvers in the construction of DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers – placing the prefabricated deckhouse onto the 600-foot long hull of the warship.

Built in Gulfport, Mississippi by Ingalls Shipbuilding, the composite-structure deckhouse was shipped in late summer to Maine, where a steel foundation was fitted on its lower edges. The structure will eventually house the ship’s radars and other sensors, along with numerous other fittings.

The procedure for installing the deckhouse on the MICHAEL MONSOOR (DDG 1001) was essentially the same as that on the ZUMWALT (DDG 1000). Four cranes lifted the deckhouse high into the air, and the entire hull of the ship was rolled into place underneath it. Slowly and ever-so-carefully, the deckhouse was lowered into place as engineers constantly checked the placement of the hull.

The deckhouse was then held in place just above the hull while alignments were checked, making sure everything lined up before the final drop.

So you might ask – why do this at night? Shipyards make most of their major lifts during the late work shifts, when fewer workers are present. Fewer folks need to stand around just watching, and when the morning shift comes in, things are (hopefully) ready for them to get to work.

All photos courtesy General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.

Cranes begin lifting the deckhouse on the evening of November 13, 2014.

Cranes begin lifting the deckhouse on the evening of November 13, 2014.

Higher and higher the deckhouse rises, while at right, the hull of the MICHAEL MONSOOR is positioned to roll.

Higher and higher the deckhouse rises, while at right, the hull of the MICHAEL MONSOOR is poised to roll forward.

The snowstorm intensifies as shipbuilders prepare to roll the hull forward. The ship in this view sits ashore on the Land-Level Transfer Facility, but the yard uses its huge floating drydock essentially to provide a pier on which to move the hull forward. The photographer is standing on one of the walls of the drydock, nicknamed "Big Blue."

The snowstorm intensifies as shipbuilders begin moving the hull. The ship in this view sits ashore on the Land-Level Transfer Facility, but the yard uses its huge floating drydock essentially to provide a pier on which to move the hull forward. The photographer is standing on one of the walls of the drydock, nicknamed “Big Blue.”

A little snow never slowed down Maine shipbuilders!

A little snow never slowed down Maine shipbuilders!

The deckhouse is held in place as the destroyer's hull is rolled forward.

The deckhouse is held in place as the destroyer’s hull is rolled forward.

The deckhouse is lowered to only a couple feet above the hull, where engineers check alignments for the final drop. The sky now shows Nov. 14th's first light.

The cranes lower the deckhouse to only a couple feet above the hull, where engineers check alignments for the final drop. The sky now shows November 14th’s first light.

 

 

Christopher P. Cavas
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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
Christopher P. Cavas
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