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Damage assessment underway

By Steve Limtiaco HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 4, 2011) – The Guam Shipyard is trying to determine whether its large dry dock was damaged after it took on water and partially sank over the weekend.

Guam experienced high surf because of a weather system near Japan. The dry dock "Machinist," also known as "Big Blue," took on water because of the weather, the shipyard said in a written statement.

As of yesterday, shipyard employees were removing the water, after which a comprehensive damage assessment will be conducted, according to the shipyard.

Dry docks are designed to partially submerge so they can lift ships out of the water. Shipyard administrative manager Marie Camacho yesterday didn't provide additional information about how the dry dock started to sink or why water might damage it.

There was no ship in the dry dock at the time, she said, and she referred additional questions to shipyard President Mathews Pothen. He didn't return a message left on his cellular phone as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

The Guam Shipyard leases the former Naval Ship Repair Facility from the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA). The shipyard employs about 350 people, according to GEDA.

The shipyard last year won a US$10.4 million federal contract to repair and modify the submarine tender USS Frank Cable for use by merchant marines.

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