Roosevelt returning to sea, after being docked for months in coronavirus controversy

The widespread infection on the vessel led to the captain's dismissal and Navy secretary's resignation.

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USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS Theodore Roosevelt
(U.S. Navy / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
May 19, 2020 - 12:58pm

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is gradually returning to operation after a large coronavirus outbreak, taking a test run while sidelined at Naval Base Guam.

The so-called “fast cruise” is reportedly in preparation for a full return to sea later this week.

Still, the aircraft carrier will return to duty with a scaled-back crew of about 3,000, leaving about 1,800 others sailors on shore still in quarantine. 

The Roosevelt has been at the center of a widening controversy that led to the firing of the ship’s previous captain, whose concerns about the outbreak went public; the resignation of the Navy Secretary who fired the captain, and an expanded investigation into what triggered the outbreak and how well top naval commanders handled it, according to the Associated Press.  

More than 1,000 of the ship’s sailors have tested positive over the past two months. The entire crew has had to go through quarantine and test negative twice before being allowed to return to the ship.

During the practice run, the Roosevelt crew will simulate normal conditions and test critical operating systems.

“Fast cruise is a major milestone for the ship and for the crew,” said ship Capt. Carlos Sardiello.

In addition to testing the ship’s systems, the Roosevelt crew will also be implementing new measures to protect members from possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, including wearing masks and maintaining social distance, according to the Navy.