A new series of photos released on Wednesday by U.S. 7th fleet now show the hidden damage suffered by USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) from its June 17 collision with a merchant vessel.
The pictures of the guided missile destroyer from the Navy’s dry dock facility in Yokosuka, Japan show the size of the hole the bulbous bow of ACX Crystal punched into Fitzgerald’s starboard side amidships below the waterline.
Four five foot by 20-foot hull patches have been installed to cover the hull breach welded in place by divers since the ship was been pier-side following the collision.
While published images from Fitzgerald show the extensive damage to the ship’s superstructure above the waterline – including the collision’s effect on the ship’s A/N-SPY-1D(v) radar and the crushed commander’s cabin – the Wednesday images are the first that show how badly the destroyer was wounded below the waterline.
The below-the-waterline collision flooded two berthing spaces and one machinery space and resulted in the death of seven sailors.
In addition to the damage from the impact with Crystal, the ship’s hull was twisted, a sailor familiar with early reports from the waterfront that complicated the damage control efforts.
Now, Navy officials will take stock of the extent of the damage of Fitzgerald before the service makes a decision to complete repairs in Japan or back in the U.S.
Meanwhile, several investigations into the collision are ongoing.
Last month, the Navy announced the recently promoted Rear Adm. Brian Fort will head up the Navy’s Manual of the Judge Advocate General (JAGMAN) investigation into the collision.