back to article US nuclear aircraft carrier George Bush crippled by toilet outages

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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Dave Harris Silver badge

    I see a plotline for NCIS coming up...

    Labcoat for Abby

  2. TRT Silver badge

    In other words...

    the toilets suck.

    1. Black Betty

      No problem is exactly the opposite.

      What I don't get is the deliberate introduction of single points of failure on a fucking warship.

      Banks of bogs serviced by centralised vacuum systems? That is a guaranteed disaster, no matter how massively over engineered.

      Vacuum should always be generated as close to the point of need as possible.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Look on the bright side, at least they don't blow.

      1. Black Betty

        Unfortunately vacuum bogs have a bad habit...

        ...of doing exactly that if the piston returns before the bowl has completely cleared.

    3. Thomas 4


      A really piss-poor piece of engineering; the engineers did a crap job and are probably not flushed with success right now.

    4. Dave Watts

      I think that the problem is paradoxically that the toilets don't suck.

    5. Tim of the Win

      Clearly they need a Dyson. No loss of suction, no matter how many tampax you flush.

    6. TRT Silver badge
      IT Angle

      I see...

      So when it's working, the toilets suck. And when they don't suck, they're not working. A bit like Microsoft products then.

  3. laird cummings

    Fire the DCA*

    Maintenance of the CHT (collection, holding, and trasnfer - i.e. sewage) lines and system traditionally belong to the Damage Control Division, headed up by the Damage Control Assistant (DCA). The lines require more-or-less constant attention in rotation - start at one end of the hull and work to the other, then start all over. I've seen what happens when the process isn't followed correctly, and it's *NASTY.* It's the job of the DCA make sure his sailors know what they're doing, and actually do the job right, as well.

    Fire his butt.

    1. Peter Murphy

      Fire the training officer as well...

      When you read this line:

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

      FFS. If such an excuse is believable (and I'm dubious), then the seamen and seawomen should be told over and OVER again that flushing clothes and tampons is not the thing to do. It's bloody common sense, but since most people lack common sense, they need to be told - preferably by angry chief petty officers shouting in their face. Or maybe they should have sanitary bins next to the female toilets, like they do in civvie world.

      Myself, I'm suspecting the episode is the fault of the US Military-Industrial complex. Some company's been given a no-bid contract to provide the toilets to the George Bush because the firm's CEO play golf with a couple of Senators, and there's no clause that prevents the company getting their money just because the loos aren't up to scratch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Confirmed - You're not to be relied on.

        "FFS. If such an excuse is believable (and I'm dubious),

        then the seamen and seawomen should be told over and OVER again

        that flushing clothes and tampons is not the thing to do."

        Vessel deployment imminent.

        Reluctant to depart swabbie, rinses & releases t-shirt.

        Line blockage or macerator damage.

        Deployment delayed.

        Repeat as required.

        Regular occurence in UK RN.

      2. MichaelZWilliamson

        Carrier design is a mature technology, so I strongly doubt some "no bid contract" deliberately made this mistake. The Nimitiz Class (including the Bush, named after the senior Bush, a carrier aviator in WWII) are built by Northrop Grumman, a regular contractor for multiple ships, and one of the few capable of building something of this magnitude.

        Since the design is of a proven historical status, I concur with a prior poster that the Damage Control Officer is likely not managing his department and taskings properly.

        Before ranting about a subject, a few minutes of google would at least give you a starting point to not being foolish.

        1. Glenn Charles


          and clearly you were never in the U.S. Navy.

      3. laird cummings

        @Peter Murphy 00:02 GMT

        Fire the Training Officer?

        Ah, no.

        "Not tossing inappropriate items down the shitter" is something that is taught young sailors LONG before they ever see anything that floats. Maintenance of that 'Basic' instruction does not belong to the Training Officer (technically, that's the XO, though the job is delgated far down teh chain and to many individuls) but rather to the various Chiefs and Leading Petty Officers whom are responsible for discipline and management of their sailors.

        So, yeah, there's apparently a discipline problem on board, too. But mostly, I'd blame the Damage Control Division - If you do the job right, the lines stay reasonably clear no matter *what* goes down them, and if you do it wrong, even once, you can (literally) stuff up the whole system for days. Or even better, if it's an older vessel, you can cause a CHT line to rupture - under pressure.

        I've seen the results that last item. Nasty beyond the power of words to relate.

  4. laird cummings

    And now, for the inevitable joke:

    Clearly, this George Bush is full of it, too.

  5. g e

    So. Like George Bush...

    It's full of shit.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Too much bran in the diet?

    423 dunnies for 5,000 people? That about 1 for every 12 crew, or 2 hours per day each. Even if they are reserved for different genders and ranks (mustn't see the officers with their trousers down!) that's still a great deal of porcelain.

    One can only assume that the designers needed that amount of redundancy in the system to cope for "emergencies" (aircraft-carrier landings can be scary events) and the reported breakdowns. I wonder if the weapons systems, for all their extra complexity, are any more reliable?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Too much bran in the diet?

      1 for every 12 isn't much. Standard UK domestic guidelines are 1 for every 6 (i.e. 7 people = 2 toilets).

      1. laird cummings

        "Standard UK domestic guidelines..."

        Do not apply. It's a warship, not an office park or residential development.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Name sake

    Like its name sake, full of crap an doesnt work too well

    yes yes, i know its not named after the Dim one, but still....:)

  8. Andus McCoatover

    There you go, Al-Qeda. Doddle.

    Plant a couple of dozen female mateots on board in 'off-games week', and their combined tampons in the heads can scupper a warship!

    (Aptly named ship, in this case...)

  9. Alfred

    Whoever did the plumbing must have (not) been taking the piss.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward


    ...shit happens.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      ...or in this case it doesn't ;)

  12. Dr. Mouse

    The headline would be better without "US nuclear aircraft carrier"

    1. Richard Scratcher

      Nah, I think it should say "US nuculer aircraft courier"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A ship full of s*** - just like its namesake :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, in short,...

    ...they're pissed off and well and truly in the shit, then?

    AC because I don't want the USN dumping all over me for taking the piss ;-)

  15. SiempreTuna

    So ..

    .. another Bush being a pain in the a** .. if amusing

    .. be war crimes next ..

  16. Andus McCoatover


    That's all.

    No, it's not.


    Now, where's my empty bottle....

  17. relpy

    Is that an ...

    Ice-Cream van on the deck?

    1. Ian Moffatt 1

      Perhaps they're filming...

      ... another of the Hot Shots films ;-)

      RIP Lloyd Bridges

  18. K. Adams

    Montgomery Scott's maxim:

    "The more they overtake the plumbing, the easier it is to stop-up the drain." (ST III; TSFS)

    Rather literally, in this instance, it seems...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This must be the first time that Bush (Senior) wasn't taking the piss.

  20. Valerion

    No head?

    Good thing it's not the USS Clinton...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Or its sister ship, the USS Monica L.

      That's also full of seamen.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One again, it shows that George Bush wasn't good for shit !!!

  22. Anonymous Coward

    So George H.W. Bush has problems in the head?

    Sorry, that's all I've got......

    Another unintended, but fitting application of the Sherlock icon!! No shit indeed, my good man!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A comment on the Bush family?

    A ship full of sh....

    This is in keeping with GW's style of Texas BS!

  24. LarsG


    they stuck their backsides over the poop deck and got on with it, there was no 3 ply toilet roll, they ate weevil infested biscuits, rotting salt beef, got scurvy, drank grog, climbed the rigging without a health and safety assessment, fought at every opportunity. They were real men.

    Not like the namby-pamby lot of today who need their pepsi, aircon, risk assess having a shave and eat peaches and cream for afters.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: IN NELSONS TIME.....

      Not just Nelsonsonian times! A grand relative served on one of the Insect class gunboats during WW2 in the Med, and told me they had two "heads" - effectively canvas-covered frames over a plank - hanging over the stern, and that for a crew of over fifty!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it can steam at a speedboat-like 30+ knots for 20 years without refuelling"

    Imagine holding it in for that long: "When they've stopped chasing us and we can get the toilet technicians aboard, then you can go!"

  26. IglooDude

    Pity the poor A-gangers that are having to deal with those outages...

  27. Fred 4

    Seems appropriate...

    No Working Head, just as the carrier's name sake, and progeny.

  28. kain preacher

    Must resist Must resist

    What did you expect he is so full of shit not even ..... ok ok I'm going. Mines the one that has cocaine rehab for dummies

  29. M Gale

    Bust Bogs Bollox Bloody Big Battleship

    I can do subheadings, me.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what you are saying is

    George Bush is backed up backed up with Shit and full of sea men.

  31. Johnny Canuck


    To the poop deck then...

  32. jake Silver badge

    So, the third George Bush ...

    ... that isn't quite right in the head.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same toilet designers as used for Virgin Trains?

    Cappiest crappers ever

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, letting women on warships has proven to be a bad idea? Didn't the ancients know that already?

    Since the sewage system is vacuum operated, the obvious problem is a lack of air pressure to push the sewage through the lines. So, I wonder who the contract to increase the Earth's air pressure will be given to (and, how much it'll cost)?

    Porcelain toilets? I thought they were all still stainless steel. After all, porcelain can shatter when an explosion goes off (Err, I'm talking ordnance; get your minds out of the gutter! Then, again, some of those navy bean fueled meals might be hazardous, too!), while stainless steel won't shatter. And, would you really want to be sitting on an object which can shatter and throw sharp shards into your nether regions if Al Queda happens to set off a firecracker beside the ship?

    Not me.

    P.S. I'll get my coat. It's the one with the waterproof pockets.

  35. IR

    A turd in the hand

    is worth two on the Bush

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Made me laugh


  36. Simon R. Bone

    So a Nimitz carrier is cheaper than the new UK ones?!

    Our new carriers are supposed to come in at £7b for the the pair (and may rise) - $6.2b = £3.9b, so why the hell didn't we just buy a pair of far more capable (toilet aside) Nimitzes?!

    1. Aldous

      because they would use conventional aircraft and not f35 jumpjets that we get +1000 brown nose points from the americans (were these not mostly planned through tony blairs bush rimming era?) who need as many international suckers sorry partners to prop up the hyper expensive mission creeping program.

  37. MrT

    "Breakdowns in the Bush's heads three or four times a day"

    That would explain many foreign policy decisions during office...

  38. Remy Redert


    No, the whole point of the article is that the toilets don't suck. If they did there wouldn't be a problem.

  39. Mike Richards


    ...combined with the steam catapaults it'd make a fantastic new weapon against pirates

    1. M Gale

      I think you just invented...

      ...Billy Connolly's Jobbie Weecha.

  40. Kev99 Silver badge

    If the ship were named after King George IV, then it would be very appropriate the head didn't work.

    1. Richard Wharram

      George number 4 ?

      Number 3 was famous for being mad.

      Number 4 was famous for being a fat bastard.

  41. Winkypop Silver badge

    In the Navy....

    You can't take a crap at sea

    In the Navy

    You can't even take a pee

    In the Navy....

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ship's log...

    ...has just been given a completely new meaning.

    I would not be surprised to read that the sanitation system is SCADA-controlled, with remote access (via satellite of course) provided for support.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess you missed...

    ... the obvious pun about the Bush having a lot of seamen in it.

  44. proto-robbie

    Why the need for a vacuum?

    As I recall the Invincible didn't have sucking heads on it (apart from beer time), but it did have twin gravity-fed sewage treatment plants down in the "bowels" of the ship. The CEO's party piece was drinking the waste water at the end of the purification process. Much clearer than the icon to the left.

    Mostly things worked just fine, although I do recall one of the plants breaking down on one occasion.

  45. Esskay

    Sounds like

    They're up shit creek without a paddle.

  46. Herby


    Insert your own joke here.

  47. Hairy Airey

    Sorry I have to correct you

    George Bush Senior was the 40th President of the United States, not the 41st. Grover Cleveland was counted twice as it wasn't two successive presidencies that he held, ie 1885-1889 and 1893-1897. This was covered on QI.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And as you were paying attention to QI... He *was* the 41st president, but he was only the 40th person to hold the position.

  48. Alister

    If you look at the picture accompanying the article

    You can clearly see a temporary toilet block in the middle of the flight deck

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So nothing new then, a Bush p*ssing all over the military! LOL

  50. Jim 59


    As if life aboard wasn't uncomfortable enough already.

  51. pctechxp
    Thumb Down

    Single points of failure

    This being an IT based site and most of us working in IT we can of course bang on about single points of failure but you should remember this is on a ship where space is limited and the kit to support the function isn't exactly small I bet.

    Remember it is a ship of war and is already the size oif a small island, any bigger and it would give the enemy even easier target practice.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long Queues?!

    Break out the bailing buckets!

  53. rav
    Thumb Up

    "Nothing goes in the head unless you swallow it first."

    Perhaps this needs to be included in the Blue Jackets manual.

  54. HP Cynic

    With a hint of schadenfreude (trying to spell that on the fly without checking - let me know how I do) I am pleased to see this is not the usual "Bungling, Cash-Strapped Brits" story regarding a dodgy bit of kit.

    A gigantic bit of kit.

  55. Zog The Undeniable

    It could be much, much worse

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > there are breakdowns in the Bush's heads three or four times a day

    We still talking about the carrier here?

  57. Havin_it

    Best. Photo Caption. EVER.

    Works especially well as the boat is doing a turn. GWF!

  58. Andus McCoatover

    Think we've a numpty on board.

    Anyone else noticed?


    IF name contains 'george' or 'bush' but not 'Angry Bird George' ;


    IANAP (I Am Not A Prick^WProgrammer)

  59. Miek

    "George H W Bush*, has been plagued by continual failures" -- sounds familiar

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Bush is here!! maybe even both of them!!

    Well, George ol boy, there are at least 2 people that like you judging from the downvote patern

    that is unless, you your self have graced us with your presence, an maybe Daddy Bush too?!

    Now it all makes sense!!

    Better watch out folks!


    1. IR

      "They" even downvoted my joke, which was nothing to do with the politician(s) and was just a play on the ship name!

      Clearly it's one person with two accounts, who is sad enough that they think most people give a crap about those things.

  61. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    May I be the first....

    All these references to seamen and heads full of shit and not a single Paris icon

  62. Daniel Snowden

    You're taking the piss?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022