Firefighting continues in USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), who flames occured for an unknown reason.
An alleged explosion took place in the ship while it was docked at the pier in San Diego Naval Base. The fire that started subsequently spread rapidly to other compartments of the ship. While the flames could not be taken under control on the ship, which also contained fuel and ammo stocks in its depots, helicopters affiliated to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3 and the San Diego Federal Fire Department Fleet 3 were also involved in extinguishing operations.
The high heat during the fire can cause changes in the chemical structure of the structural components of the ship. This is one of the issues that directly affect the service life of the platforms. In the images shared on social media, it was found that the flames also spread on the bridge of USS Bonhomme Richard and even caused punctures in some parts. The fuel tanks and ammunition storage compartments are also stated to be under serious threat; heavy damage on the island, which is less exposed to heat than the first fire zone; it can be a bearing point for the prediction of damage in the lower compartments.
After the fire, which has not been taken under control yet, extinguished, damage assessment works will be carried out on the ship. Middle compartments, which have been in the flames for more than 24 hours, will might require serious repair, although the lower decks may be structurally damaged. Nevertheless, it is highly probable that the steel structure, which has been exposed to high temperatures for a long time, has had changes in its molecular structure. In this case, it is another possibility that non-destructive examination methods are not sufficient and detailed examination is preferred. The fact that precious electronic equipment is also damaged along with the island is one of the issues that will significantly increase repair costs. The high labour costs in the USA, the size of the ship, the large area of damage and the fact that the ship has been in use for 22 years have also brought up the possibility of USS Bonhomme Richard to be decommissioned in the US public opinion.
Increased tension in the Asia-Pacific Region, US overseas policies and the presence of China; pushes the country to have more amphibious assault ships. The number of America Class platforms is not yet in the desired amount. However, the serious damage on USS Bonhomme Richard is bring “OK or continue?” question and leaves the US Navy in a serious dilemma. A harassing consideration process awaits the US Navy for the Wasp-class ship's fate.