Unless the plan all along was to send it to invade Canada, a newly commissioned $440 million Navy warship won't be much use this winter. The USS Little Rock, which was commissioned in Buffalo on Dec. 16, has been stuck in Montreal since Christmas Eve because of heavy ice, and the Navy says they have decided to leave it there until the weather improves. That probably won't be until mid-March, when the St. Lawrence Seaway is usually navigable, CTV reports. "The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January time frame," says Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, per the Toronto Star.
"Keeping the ship in Montreal until waterways are clear ensures the safety of the ship and crew, and will have limited impact on the ship’s operational schedule," Hillson says. "While in port, the crew of Little Rock will continue to focus on training, readiness, and certification." She says the 389-foot littoral combat ship has been given temporary heaters and the 70 personnel have been given new cold-weather clothing for their extended stay in Canada. The ship, which will go to its home port in Jacksonville, Fla., when weather permits, was named after a ship that was in service from 1945 to 1976. In December's ceremony, it became the first ship in Navy history to be commissioned alongside its namesake, which is now a floating museum on Buffalo's waterfront, the Washington Post reports. (Read more Navy stories.)