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Following critical Navy report, Newport News shipyard says safety 'is our utmost priority'

HII Newport News Shipbuilding outlines a number of steps it is pursuing, in the wake of four sailor deaths by suicide while their ship was under repair at the yard.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Six days after an explosive report from the Navy, HII Newport News Shipbuilding is weighing in.

The 200-page document from U.S. Fleet Forces Command said infrastructure at the shipyard is "insufficient."

The report went on to say: "This directly contributed to poor sailor quality of service and morale."

It was part of the probe into the deaths by suicide of four sailors from USS George Washington while it was under repair at the shipyard.

Now, the company is responding.

In a statement to 13News Now, Spokesman Todd Corillo said: 

"The safety of all who are engaged in our critical national security mission at Newport News Shipbuilding is our utmost priority. NNS has been, and continues to be, aggressively engaged with the Navy and City of Newport News to enhance Quality of Service for Navy sailors and shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding."

The statement said the company is working on improving parking and transportation options; enhancing Wi-Fi and IT; providing additional onsite food services; and supporting regular on-site visits by trained therapy dogs.

The statement concluded: "As we review the findings of the Navy's report, we remain committed to working closely with the Navy and all stakeholders on exploring options that continuously improve quality of service at NNS. We will continue an open dialogue to support actions the Navy may choose to support sailors at our facilities." 

Troops, veterans and family members experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the 24-hour Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255, texting 838255 or visiting VeteransCrisisLine.net.

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