USS Fitzgerald Returns to Base with New Damage from Heavy Lift

TOKYO BAY, Japan – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is loaded aboard the heavy lift transport MV Transshelf.

The departure of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) from Japan has been delayed after the destroyer was damaged by the heavy lift vessel on which it is loaded.

According to the U.S. Navy, Fitzgerald returned to the Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka base to repair two punctures in her hull caused by the heavy lift vessel’s steel support structure during the loading process.

The Navy says repairs are expected to extend the loading process by a few days, after which Transshelf will transport Fitzgerald to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Pascagoula, Mississippi where the destroyer will undergo repairs to fix damage from its collision with a merchant vessel in June.

Fitzgerald was towed from Fleet Activities Yokosuka to deep water to begin the heavy lift loading process on November 24.

In the months prior to her 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, she was moved from dry dock to a pierside location in anticipation of the move.

Fitzgerald was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal on June 17. Seven Sailors lost their lives and the ship was damaged on her starboard side above and below the waterline. The Navy released a comprehensive review of the incident November 1.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain (DDG 56) departed Subic Bay, Philippines aboard the heavy lift vessel MV Treasure this week following a month-long detour after the destroyer was damaged during its voyage from Singapore to Fleet Activities Yokosuka, where the destroyer will be repaired following its collision with a merchant tanker off Singapore in August.