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.
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