When did they start frocking PO3s? That was for CPOs.
Probably didn't spend much more money than normally..the surface search by ships would have been carried out by ships already at sea. All that would be extra was the air search and the fuel cost.
The Navy will write it off as a good training exercise, but it will be a source of embarrassment to the ship's captain.
Those gas turbine engine rooms aren't the big humongous spaces they were back in steam days, and are pretty clean and mostly modular. Still 'tall' (3 levels) but not very long fore to aft. Not a lot of places to hide. 'Somebody' probably knew he was there unless the article meant to say 'engineering space" and that could mean a lot bigger area, but still not the maze of equipment and piping that used to run thru 1/2 the ship in steam turbine days.