Damaged USS Fitzgerald Departs Japan Aboard Heavy Lift Vessel

uss fitzgerald heavy lift transport
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) departed Pier 9 at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, December 1, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) departed its anchorage in Yokosuka Harbor, Japan over the weekend for its voyage back to the United States aboard  Dockwise’s heavy lift vessel MV Transshelf. 

Transshelf is transporting Fitzgerald to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard Pascagoula, Mississippi, where the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will undergo repairs following its collision with a containership in June.

Fitzgerald returned to Navy’s Fleet Activities Yokosuka base shortly after the June 17 collision with the ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan. Since then, it has undergone a series of preparations for the on-load and transport, including dewatering, defueling, layup maintenance, hull and superstructure repairs.

Saturday’s departure from Yokosuka had been previously delayed due to damage that occurred during the initial float-on loading process, which involved lowering the MV Transshelf in the water and towing Fitzgerald onto a platform secured to the deck of the heavy lift vessel.

During loading the process, the steel support structure punctured Fitzgerald’s hull, which required repairs in port and kept both ships at an anchorage since December 1.

While there, crews got to witness the arrival of the damaged USS John S. McCain aboard a second Dockwise heavy lift vessel, the MV Treasure. The McCain was arriving from Singapore, via the Philippines, where it had been docked since after its collision with a merchant tanker in August.

Fitzgerald was damaged in a collision with the Philippine-flagged containership ACX Crystal on June 17 off the coast of Japan. A total of seventeen U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives in the two accidents 

The Navy released a comprehensive review of the collisions on November 1.

While the Fitzgerald will be brought back to the U.S. for repairs, the Navy has decided that repairs for the John S. McCain can be conducted in Japan at the Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) in Yokosuka.