But, he said, "we still have an active fire that we are combatting from both within and outside the ship."
Sobeck revealed that helicopters equipped for firefighting operations have dumped more than 1,000 buckets of water on the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard, cooling the superstructure and flight deck so that firefighters can battle the blaze internally while tugs spray water alongside the hull.
There is currently at least one active fire in a previously inaccessible forward area of the ship. There is another fire in the aft area. Sobeck said he is hopeful that all of the remaining fires will be out within the next 24 hours.
The Navy has released a number of images of the ongoing firefight, some of which capture clearly the charred exterior of the ship.
A fire was first reported aboard the big-deck amphib, which has been in maintenance for the past couple of years and was in port at Naval Base San Diego, at around 8:30 am Sunday. Sobeck said that a sudden explosion forced the crew to evacuate before they could secure the area where the fire broke out and activate the fire suppression system.
The fire, which is suspected to have started in a lower vehicle storage area, spread rapidly through the ship. Sobeck told reporters Tuesday that once the fire spread up to the well deck, it was "off to the races."
Over the past few days, hundreds of sailors and local firefighters have been battling the fires aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. The Navy reports that 61 people 38 sailors and 23 civilians have been injured, suffering from things like smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion.
Sobeck told reporters Sunday evening that "we're absolutely going to make sure it sails again," adding that "we're just going to get right back at it once we get this thing contained and put out."
On Tuesday, he said that he is still as hopeful as ever but said that it is "too early to tell" the extent of the damage and whether or not the ship can be salvaged.
"When you look at the outside of the ship, you don't get the full picture," he said. "We haven't been inside of the ship well enough to get a full picture." Sobeck said that an investigation would be carried out once the fire was finally out.