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USS Miami Repairs Uncertain

Portland, Maine — The Navy’s commitment to repairing a nuclear submarine severely damaged by an arsonist last spring is wavering under the realities of mandatory budget cuts, officials say.

The Navy announced last summer that it intended to repair the USS Miami at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with a goal of returning it to service in 2015. The cost of repairing the vessel would be about $450 million, which the Navy said would be cost-effective because the 22-year-old submarine could serve another 10 years.

But the repair has been postponed and the Navy is now rethinking its repair budget because of the mandatory cuts triggered by federal law this month.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s 4,700 civilian workers will be forced to take 22 days off without pay between April and the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30 under forced federal budget cuts.

Workers plan to rally tomorrow against the mandatory budget cuts.

Adding insult to injury for shipyard workers was another fire yesterday aboard the submarine just three days after former shipyard worker Casey James Fury, 25, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for setting the fire that ravaged the USS Miami.