Navy looking at possible uninspected welds

May 31, 2009 at 3:51 PM

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy says it is going back over the welding work performed on 13 ships after an inspector admitted falsifying completion reports.

The vessels include submarines and the new aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, although The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Sunday there is also a possibility the lack of inspections only involved one ship.

The re-inspections were ordered after a Norfolk Grumman inspector admitted passing welds that had not actually been inspected. The company's Newport News shipyard is the only yard that services U.S. nuclear carriers and employs about 100 weld inspectors who look over hundreds of thousands of welds on every ship they work on.

The Virginian-Pilot said inspections have already confirmed the carriers Carl Vinson and Enterprise are shipshape as are the Bush and the submarines Toledo and New Hampshire, which are currently at sea.

As for the unnamed now-former inspector, the newspaper said the Naval Investigative Service has opened a criminal inquiry with the cooperation of Northrop Grumman.

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