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The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, which was involved in the deadly collision with the ACX Crystal tanker on June 17, developed two cracks in its hull caused by a heavy lift vessel’s steel support structure during on load at anchorage.

The ship was being loaded for transport to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Pascagoula, Mississippi aboard heavy lift transport vessel Transshelf, bound for repairs to the damage sustained in the collision. However, due to the hull punctures, it had to return to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka for repairs, which are expected to extend the on load process by a few days, the US Navy said.

“Fitzgerald was towed to deep water to begin the heavy lift process on November 24. In the months prior to its departure from Yokosuka, technicians and shipbuilders at Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka made significant progress in preparing the ship for the journey, including dewatering, defueling, hull and superstructure repairs, and placing key systems in layup maintenance. In October, it was moved from dry dock to a pierside location in anticipation of the move,” a statement from the Navy’s 7th Fleet reads.

Fitzgerald shares a similar fate of the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, which also developed a crack in its hull while transiting to Yokosuka aboard the heavy lift transport vessel MV Treasure. John S. McCain was diverted to Subic Bay on October 22 due to poor weather conditions and to repair cracks in the ship’s hull discovered. While at anchor in Subic Bay, technicians inspected the cracks and determined the ship needed additional blocks under it to support and distribute its weight on the heavy lift vessel.

The warship, which collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on August 21, was moved onto to the heavy-lift vessel in October and was supposed to head for Yokosuka, where it is scheduled to undergo repairs.

Specifically, the destroyer sustained damage to the port side aft resulting in flooding to nearby compartments, including berthing, machinery and communications rooms.

Today, USS John S. McCain departed Subic Bay, Philippines aboard MV Treasure in route Yokosuka.

Upon arrival, the destroyer will be repaired at Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) before returning to service in U.S. Seventh Fleet.
“SRF is making preparations to begin remediation and repair efforts immediately once the ship is dockside,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sandra Wyman assigned to SRF-JRMC.

A US Navy investigation into the two collisions found that human error and inadequate training contributed to the said incidents.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com       Image Courtesy: US Navy/MC1 Leonard Adams