US nuclear aircraft carrier George Bush crippled by toilet outages

Sailors drenched as bottles of piss emptied into wind


The US Navy's newest and mightiest nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS George H W Bush*, has been plagued by continual failures in its lavatories, according to reports. Sailors have been forced into increasingly desperate measures to relieve themselves.

Nov 11, 2011: USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kasey Krall

Well goddammit you guys, you shoulda gone before we set off

The Navy Times, following up initial stories of the problems appearing on blogs, quotes members of the 5,000-strong ship's complement as stating that at times there hasn't been a single working head – as lavs are known at sea – anywhere aboard the entire mighty hundred-thousand-ton warship. Reportedly the Bush is fitted with no less than 423 thrones, but it appears that problems with the suction flushing system can easily knock out large numbers of these at once – or even all of them.

According to the NT's unnamed sources, crewpersons aboard the carrier have struggled to cope with the situation. It seems that desperate sailors must often hunt for long periods to find a functioning head, and if they do discover one there may be a lengthy queue. Some of the unfortunate matelots have apparently resorted to urinating in sinks or showers, or in some cases off the towering sides of the ship (parts of it are as high above the waves as a 20-story building). The latter is a risky practice, however, as it is against regulations: at least one sailor has been put under punishment for doing so.

Other Bush crewmen have reportedly taken to the use of bottles in some private location, following which the containers are smuggled to a suitable point for surreptitious tipping overboard. Unfortunately this "can soil the side of the ship or the hangar deck, aircraft or fellow sailors, depending on how it catches the wind", the NT reports.

According to a statement supplied to the naval newspaper, there are breakdowns in the Bush's heads three or four times a day, though many of these only involve a few units and can be fixed relatively swiftly. Nonetheless the ship's engineering personnel have expended no less than 10,000 man-hours on fixing busted bogs during the carrier's current overseas deployment. It was admitted that one ship-wide breakdown required a 35-hour effort to fix, with the relevant technicians working flat out throughout with no rest.

Naval commanders blamed the problems on inappropriate objects such as clothes or feminine hygiene products being flushed down the heads.

The $6.2bn George Bush, when functioning on top line, is perhaps the most powerful warship in the world. Its air group of more than 90 planes and choppers could defeat many national air forces or navies on its own, and it can steam at a speedboat-like 30+ knots for 20 years without refuelling.

However it must be suspected that the mighty vessel's efficiency is somewhat degraded at the moment. ®

*41, not 43... Named not after the recent US president but his father, also president back in the early '90s, who saw combat as a carrier aviator in World War II.


Other stories you might like

  • Red Hat Kubernetes security report finds people are the problem
    Puny human brains baffled by K8s complexity, leading to blunder fears

    Kubernetes, despite being widely regarded as an important technology by IT leaders, continues to pose problems for those deploying it. And the problem, apparently, is us.

    The open source container orchestration software, being used or evaluated by 96 per cent of organizations surveyed [PDF] last year by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, has a reputation for complexity.

    Witness the sarcasm: "Kubernetes is so easy to use that a company devoted solely to troubleshooting issues with it has raised $67 million," quipped Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at IT consultancy The Duckbill Group, in a Twitter post on Monday referencing investment in a startup called Komodor. And the consequences of the software's complication can be seen in the difficulties reported by those using it.

    Continue reading
  • Infosys skips government meeting - and collecting government taxes
    Tax portal wobbles, again

    Services giant Infosys has had a difficult week, with one of its flagship projects wobbling and India's government continuing to pressure it over labor practices.

    The wobbly projext is India's portal for filing Goods and Services Tax returns. According to India’s Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the IT services giant reported a “technical glitch” that meant auto-populated forms weren't ready for taxpayers. The company was directed to fix it and CBIC was faced with extending due dates for tax payments.

    Continue reading
  • Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use
    Phew!

    Google has quietly dropped its demand that users of its free G Suite legacy edition cough up to continue enjoying custom email domains and cloudy productivity tools.

    This story starts in 2006 with the launch of “Google Apps for Your Domain”, a bundle of services that included email, a calendar, Google Talk, and a website building tool. Beta users were offered the service at no cost, complete with the ability to use a custom domain if users let Google handle their MX record.

    The service evolved over the years and added more services, and in 2020 Google rebranded its online productivity offering as “Workspace”. Beta users got most of the updated offerings at no cost.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022