As it got underway, an advanced Navy combat ship, the U.S.S. Billings struck a berthed freighter in Montreal, leaving both ships damaged, but their crews uninjured.
The Freedom-class littoral combat ship, slated to be commissioned as the U.S.S. Billings, hit the M/V Rosaire A. Desgagnés about 2:00 p.m., said Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, a Navy spokesperson.
The 378-foot-long Billings sustained damage above the waterline. The damage to the Rosaire, a 452-foot dry bulk vessel owned by Quebec-based Desgagnés, was unknown.
The Billings was getting underway with the assistance of tugs. The Navy is investigating the incident.
“The Navy is conducting an investigation to understand what happened and why,” Hillson said. “We will incorporate lessons learned to ensure we conduct safe and effective operations.”
While the U.S.S. Billings was capable of continuing to its Florida base, Naval Station Mayport, it remained it Montreal as of June 24 for additional damage assessment.
The Billings, launched in 2017, is among the newest ships in the Navy’s fleet. The $362 million Freedom class combat boats are billed as high-tech, cost-effective surface warfare vessels suited for modern defense needs. The stealthy ships have been plagued by a host of issues, which have kept them from going operational.
The Rosaire, delivered in 2007, was built by Volharding Shipyards in the Netherlands, in collaboration with Jiangzhou Shipyard in China. It can hold 665 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), with a capacity of nearly 16,000 cubic meters.
Desgagnés could not be reached for comment. It has 23 vessels in its fleet.