It will cost about $400 million to repair damage to the USS Miami, an attack submarine that caught fire while at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery on May 23, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said.

Pingree said $400 million – nearly half of the $900 million it cost to build the Miami – is a preliminary estimate from Navy officials. She toured the sub yesterday.

Navy officials have said they want to repair the Miami and keep it in service because the size of the fleet has been decreasing.

Navy officials have not yet said what caused the fire, which burned for hours and required help from a score of local fire companies to extinguish. The fire damaged the sub’s control room, the torpedo room and crew quarters in the front of the ship. The sub was in Kittery for what was scheduled to be a 20-month overhaul.

The Miami’s nuclear reactor, which is toward the stern of the ship, was not affected by the fire and some of the crew remained aboard the sub to monitor it while others fought the fire.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, although a half-dozen firefighters had to be treated for minor injuries.

“There is still a lot more to be done to really determine the extent of the damage to the Miami, but Navy officials we’ve been in touch with say they think we’re looking at something in the $400 million range,” Pingree said. “That number certainly could change but I think it’s a workable figure and I’m optimistic that this means the boat is repairable, that the work can be done at Kittery and the Navy will be able to come up with the money for the repair.” 

“When I was at the yard yesterday, every indication I got from the workers there was that they could fix the Miami,” Pingree added. “Nothing is official yet, but this preliminary estimate gives us more reason to believe the ship will be repaired right here in Kittery.”

Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, majority share owner of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram (or Kennebec Journal, or Morning Sentinel).