The USS Fitzgerald has returned to sea for the first time in more than two and half years since its deadly collision with a containership in 2017 off the coast of Japan.
The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday that the guided missile destroyer has gotten underway from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Ingalls Shipbuilding’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi for a series of sea trials.
The trials will include demonstrations to evaluate the ship’s onboard systems, including navigation, damage control, mechanical and electrical systems, combat systems, communications and propulsion.
USS Fitzgerald’s departure comes two years after the vessel arrived at the shipyard for repairs and modernization work after the ship was badly damaged in a collision with the ACX Crystal in June 2017 that claimed the lives seven Navy sailors.
“Since we launched the ship this past April our efforts have focused on restoring ship systems, conducting pier side tests and readying the ship for sea,” said Rear Adm. Tom Anderson, NAVSEA director Surface Ship Maintenance and Modernization and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center. “The government and industry team has been working hand-in-hand on this exceptionally complex effort, with a common purpose of returning Fitzgerald to sea and ultimately back to the Fleet.”
Following the sea trials, the crew will undergo training and certifications ahead of the ship’s anticipated return to service later this year.