Damage shouldn't delay repair schedule

In this 1996 photo, Coast Guard members stand beside the cutter Gallatin at the former Charleston Naval Base.

Last week's fire on board the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin produced only minimal damage and shouldn't delay the timetable for its previously scheduled maintenance and repairs, an admiral said Thursday.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Papp Jr. said an engineering team has reviewed the fire area and determined there would be "no delay in terms of the overall length of time we're going to be in drydock."

The fire started after there was a transfer of heat through the hull while welding work was being done on the outside, he said. The heat ignited insulation in an adjacent compartment.

Officials are still working on a total damage cost estimate, saying tools, spare parts and other equipment were affected as well.

The fire last Friday caused no injuries beyond the severe bouts of heat exhaustion that some responders faced as temperatures reached an estimated 400 degrees in the burn area. The blaze was concentrated in a storage unit measuring 20 feet by 30 feet.

The Gallatin is at Detyens Shipyard's Dry Dock No. 2 on the former Charleston Naval Base. The 378-foot high-endurance class vessel, and its fellow cutter the Dallas, went into dry dock there in March for a combined $15 million in much-needed repairs.

Both vessels are more than 40 years old and have suffered excessive corrosion and other problems. The repair work was expected to take about six months.

Papp will presiding over a change-of-command ceremony for the tall ship Eagle this weekend as part of the Charleston HarborFest.