Visitor tours have been suspended at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor after a U.S. Navy hospital ship struck the Memorial’s dock, causing damage.
A statement from the National Park Service confirmed that the floating dock at the Memorial was damaged Wednesday morning as the hospital ship USNS Mercy was underway. “Initial reports indicated that a tug boat hit the Memorial, but an investigation is underway,” the NPS statement said.
The incident was first reported by Military.com, which obtained a photo taken by a witness of the incident showing the stern of the USNS Mercy within just a few yards from the Memorial building and dock. The report said that tugboats were maneuvering the hospital ship from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at around 7 a.m. local time when the allision occurred.
A statement by Navy Region Hawaii posted to Facebook later confirmed that the dock was struck while tug boats were assisting the USNS Mercy in Pearl Harbor. “Initial visual assessments show that the dock was moved about 10 feet toward the Memorial. A small area of concrete was damaged where the dock’s ramp joined the Memorial. The dock’s ramps and railings were also damaged,” the statement said.
Until the dock is repaired visitors can still view the Memorial from Battleship Row, but will not be able to disembark at the Memorial itself.
“White boat passenger traffic onto the memorial has to be suspended as we assess the full extent of damage and can ensure the safety of visitors. In the meantime, the white boat tours of Pearl Harbor continue from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center without the ability to disembark passengers aboard the USS Arizona Memorial,” the NPS said.
The Navy hopes to have the dock repaired by June 4, the NPS said.
The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii marks the resting place of the more than 1,000 killed on the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
USNS Mercy is one of two U.S. Navy hospital ships operated by Military Sealift Command.