Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport’s Detachment (Det) San Diego conducted a magnetic treatment of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Kimball (WMSL 756) at the Magnetic Silencing Facility (MSF) at Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) in May. Magnetic treatments, commonly called “deperms,” reduce a warship’s vulnerability to magnetic and electromagnetic mines. Det San Diego engineers at the San Diego MSF have remained open for business providing critical fleet support during the COVID-19 pandemic by following Navy and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The team worked with Kimball’s crew to implement measures that would allow the work to be done while protecting the health and safety of everyone involved.
Prior to boarding the Kimball, all Det San Diego personnel had their temperature taken and were screened to ensure they were not experiencing any symptoms. All personnel on the ship, both Coast Guard and Det San Diego personnel, also wore face masks and gloves. The challenge of preventing the spread of disease wasn’t the only issue Det San Diego personnel faced during the Kimball’s time in San Diego. Achieving a satisfactory magnetic condition of the ship’s signature proved difficult, and the MSF engineers had to perform multiple treatments to lower the Kimball’s signature to be within required limits.
“The Kimball’s crew also took protective measures by self-quarantining for two weeks on their transit over from Pearl Harbor,” said Victor Valerio, Det San Diego’s lead engineer at the MSF.
“There are defined limits each ship must meet in order to achieve a satisfactory magnetic condition. When we performed the actual adjustments on the ship, the signature did not match up with what was modeled, which left us scratching our heads. Each iteration would take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and I believe we performed over 18 iterations, but we got it. The Kimball’s crew was hard-working and very supportive. Their number one focus was to support the MSF in accomplishing the deperm” said Gary Kwong, Det San Diego’s technical project manager at the MSF.
The USCGC Kimball (WMSL 756) is the seventh ship of its class to perform deperming at the San Diego MSF. USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) is the seventh Legend-class cutter of the United States Coast Guard.The Legend-class cutter, also known as the National Security Cutter (NSC) and Maritime Security Cutter, Large, is the largest active patrol cutter class of the United States Coast Guard. Kimball is named for Sumner Increase Kimball, who was the organizer of the United States Life-Saving Service and the General Superintendent of the Life-Saving Service from 1878–1915. Original planned commission ceremony was on January 19, 2019, but ceremony cancelled due to the government shutdown. On August 24, 2019, Kimball was commissioned in Honolulu with USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757).