BREMERTON — The USS Nimitz returned home to Puget Sound Tuesday after problems with the ship's propulsion plant cut the first of its sea trials short.
The warship, which returned from a more than 11-month deployment in March, made it only three days at sea in its initial voyage following work this year at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
On Sunday, the crew "identified a minor material deficiency" in the propulsion plant while the vessel was located in international waters off the west coast, according to Navy Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces based in San Diego.
"The ship's crew took action to address the deficiency and the ship returned to port," Harrell said.
The commander added that there was no danger to crewmembers.
"The deficiency posed no risk to the ship, the propulsion plant, the ship's crew, or the environment," he said.
The Navy did not release the extent of the problems with the ship's propulsion. But the issues must be addressed before the 1,092-foot-long warship can proceed with the sea trials necessary to ready the crew for deployment.
Harrell said the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard will fully assess the problems and "conduct any necessary repairs prior to the ship's next underway period."
The 1975-commissioned Nimitz is powered by two nuclear reactors that can propel the ship at more than 34 miles an hour, according to the Navy. The steam produced by the reactors has the side benefit of powering catapults on the ship's flight deck to launch its fighter jets and other aircraft.
It's the latest setback for the Navy and the readiness of the fleet. In early October, the USS Connecticut submarine struck an underwater mountain in the South China Sea. The Seawolf-class boat, one of three that conducts some of the country's most important and secretive undersea missions, will head home to Bremerton for repairs at the shipyard. And there are concerns the vaccine mandate may result in some workers leaving jobs at a time when the Navy is struggling to keep the fleet at sea.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: USS Nimitz makes quick return to Bremerton due to 'minor' deficiency