USNS Niagara Falls arrives in Guam after grounding
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — After spending two days grounded off the coast of Palau, the USNS Niagara Falls was freed and arrived in Guam for inspection Tuesday.
The combat stores ship, forward-deployed to Guam, ran aground Oct. 27 while leaving Malakal Harbor in Palau. The cause of the mishap remains unknown and will be investigated while the ship is in Guam, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release.
No injuries or leakage resulted from the grounding, the release said. Starting Nov. 1, a team of U.S. Navy divers will assess possible damage done to coral reef.
The USNS Niagara Falls has a stowage capacity exceeding 596,000 cubic feet and is self-described as a “floating supermarket.” It delivers large quantities of food, resale items, spare parts and other consumables to other ships so they can stay underway for long periods of time.
Freeing the ship took two days. Cargo and fuel was moved to reduce weight in the vessel’s forward area. Then, during high tide Saturday afternoon, the ship was freed with the help of a local tugboat.
The crew is mostly civilian, with about 115 merchant mariners and 28 Navy personnel. The Niagara Falls also has a 30-person detachment to operate the two helicopters aboard.