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The USS San Francisco is one step closer to preparing for a possible sea journey to a shipyard for permanent repairs.

A large steel dome about 20 feet high and 20 feet in diameter arrived Monday on Guam from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, Pacific Submarine Force spokesman, on Tuesday.

The dome will give the nuclear-powered ship “water-tight integrity and buoyancy on the forward end, to enable it to transit to another location,” Davis said.

The sub received extensive damage to its front end after ramming into an undersea mountain about 350 miles south of Guam on Jan. 8. The forward ballast tanks, sonar dome and sonar sphere received the heaviest damage, Davis said.

A team from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard continues to assess necessary repairs to the San Francisco, which sits in dry dock in Apra Harbor. The goal is to patch up the ship so it’s able to make the journey to a shipyard with more comprehensive repair capabilities, Davis said.

Repair teams will attach the dome, repair the ballast tanks “and do all the things necessary to make it safe to navigate on the surface,” Davis said.

Though no decisions have been made about when the sub will depart Guam or where it will go, Davis said, “we think the temporary repairs will take three months.” The transit probably will occur this summer, he estimated.


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