Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport's Newest Ship Stuck in Canada until at Least Middle of March

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport's Newest Ship Stuck in Canada until at Least Middle of March

Article excerpt

Byline:

The next few months will be much colder than expected for the crew of the USS Little Rock as it rides out frigid temperatures in Montreal, Canada instead of acclimating to the warmer climate of Northeast Florida.

The new littoral combat ship originally was scheduled to arrive at its home port of Mayport Naval Station this month after it was commissioned Dec. 16 in Buffalo, N.Y.

But weather delays have now set back the arrival date until at least midMarch, according to the Navy. It's been icebound in Montreal since arriving in port on Christmas Eve.

"The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal and included nearrecord low temperatures," said Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hilson, a spokeswoman for Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

She said the crew will continue to train on shore just like it would have while docked at Mayport, but it will have to reschedule any planned training exercises that would have taken place on the ship in open water.

The crew will focus on training, readiness and certifications until it departs for Florida, Hilson said.

She said the Little Rock arrived in Montreal on Dec. 24 and was originally delayed because of a storm that pummeled the Northeast with ice and snow. At that point the ship was expected to continue its voyage through the St. Lawrence Seaway in early January, but it's been moored in Montreal's old port ever since.

Ice conditions in the Northeast continued to intensify to the point that it would be unsafe to continue until the weather improves, Hilson said.

Built in Marinette, Wis., the Little Rock completed a series of trials in Lake Michigan before the crew took control and started the journey to Buffalo. …

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