Navy suspends contractor oversight command

April 20, 2011 at 6:18 PM
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NORFOLK, Va., April 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy says it has suspended the authority of its Norfolk, Va., command responsible for overseeing repair of naval ships by private contractors.

Norfolk Ship Support Activity, located at Norfolk Naval Station and staffed by sailors and civilians, supervises all maintenance work performed by private companies on Navy surface ships in the mid-Atlantic region.

By discontinuing the command's oversight authority ("technical warrant") the Navy is alleging Norfolk Ship Support Activity is not capable of making sure private contractors do their work properly, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday.

The Navy's decision comes on the heels of its discovery Thursday of serious problems connected with reports sent in by the contractor who repaired the engines on the USS San Antonio.

"There were missing reports; reports with data indicating out-of-specification conditions without indication of what repairs were performed; and reports with missing data or inconsistent data," Naval Sea Systems Command said in a written statement issued in response to inquiries from The Virginian-Pilot. "Improper documentation of maintenance is unacceptable."

The ship, which was commissioned less than six years ago, has had a string of problems and its engines already have been overhauled, the newspaper said.

The Navy said the problem is based on reports required by contractors to provide, and it's unclear to the government which work was completed and which wasn't. The Navy said some reports are missing, while others show inaccurate and inconsistent data.

The Naval Sea Systems Command said in a written response Tuesday a senior Naval Sea Systems Command officer has been sent to "perform technical authority oversight duties until confidence is restored."

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