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ShipGrounding 1stLd-Writethru 02-09 Web

Navy frees stuck warship

The Navy today freed the $1 billion guided missile cruiser that had been stuck for more than three days since it ran aground close to the coast of Honolulu.

The USS Port Royal was pulled off a rock and sand shoal at around 2 a.m. after crews removed about 500 tons of water and 100 tons of anchors and other equipment to lighten the vessel, the Navy said in a statement.

The removal by a salvage ship and seven tug boats took about 40 minutes.

No one was injured during the recovery effort, said Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, the U.S. Pacific Fleet deputy commander.

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The Port Royal was being towed to Naval Station Pearl Harbor for inspection.

The guided missile cruiser ran aground Thursday just off Honolulu International Airport. It was visible to everyone flying in and out of Oahu and also was in clear view from a nearby public beach park.

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