PASCAGOULA, Mississippi --- The engineering department of the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) began turnover of onboard engineering operations from Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on March 13, 2020, a process that puts the ship on the path to becoming a fully operational Navy warship.
“The Navy and HII have different requirements,” said Ensign Michael Salazar, Tripoli’s main engine officer. “Making sure that safeties work and the operational equipment is up to our standards is very important.”
The planned turnover process consists of handing off operations of major systems to Tripoli engineers. The ship’s engineers started up major engineering plant equipment for the first time, which takes time because of the numerous shipboard spaces, types of equipment, and variations between Navy and HII processes.
Additionally, the Navy has specific procedures required to operate each type of equipment in its inventory and are designed to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment during normal operations and scheduled maintenance.
“We have planned maintenance to make sure our equipment operates properly,” said Salazar. “Most equipment needs to be aligned in order to meet Navy engineering standards for operations at sea”
Salazar also added that the maintenance is important to prevent both injury and damage to equipment.
The engineers of Electrical division, Repair division, Auxiliaries division and Main propulsion reviewed all engineering assets in their spaces such as fuel, oil, and machinery equipment. For Sailors, these inspections gave them the time and vital training necessary to familiarize themselves with Tripoli’s onboard equipment.
“The best part is we get to set the standard,” said Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) Jonathan Burg. “We can show the expectation for our Sailors.”
For Tripoli engineers, taking ownership of the spaces is only the beginning. They will continue preparing for inspections and assessments with the goal of becoming a fully operational and qualified engineering department.
“The biggest surprise is the passion of our junior Sailors to learn equipment,” said Burg. “They came in hungry to learn every day.”
As engineers continue to take over their spaces and establish their rhythm, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to glow brighter, placing the ship one step closer to commissioning and its journey to homeport in San Diego.