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Navy to Use Heavy Lift Ship to Bring Stricken USS John S. McCain to Japan

Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) at it steers towards Changi Naval Base, Republic of Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on Aug 21, 2017. US Navy Photo

The Navy will use a heavy lift ship to transport the damaged guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) to Japan for further assessment, Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Wednesday.

“The ship is being heavy lifted to Yokosuka so that further damage assessments may be conducted,” read the statement.
“Completion of the damage assessment is required to fully determine repair plans to include cost, schedule and location for the ship’s repairs.”

McCain, which was struck by a chemical tanker on Aug. 21 during a transit near the Strait of Malacca resulting in the death of 10 sailors, is currently pier-side at the Changi Naval Base, Singapore.

The effort will be a modification of a contract between the Navy and SMIT Salvage, a NAVSEA spokeswoman told USNI News.

The McCain move follows a late August contract award to a Texas company to transport guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) to the Gulf Coast for repairs for $3.1 million.

“Patriot Shipping, based out of Houston, Texas, has been awarded the contract to move Fitzgerald from Yokosuka, Japan, to Pascagoula, Mississippi where the ship will be repaired by Huntington Ingalls Industries,” read a statement from the service at the time.

Prior to the need to move Fitzgerald and McCain, the Navy last needed to move a destroyer across an ocean in 2000 following the terrorist attack on USS Cole (DDG-67) in Yemen.

At the time the service paid $4.5 million to hire heavy lift ship to transport Cole to the U.S.

MV Blue Marlin transporting USS Cole from Yemen following the 2000 attack on the ship. US Navy Photo

The following is the complete statement on the move of McCain.

Navy Intends to Heavy Lift USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) to Yokosuka
From Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

The Navy intends to issue a task order on an existing contract, for the salvage patching and transport via heavy lift of USS John S. McCain from Changi Naval Base in Singapore to the U.S. Navy’s Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center in Yokosuka, Japan. The lift is notionally planned for late September.

The ship is being heavy lifted to Yokosuka so that further damage assessments may be conducted. Completion of the damage assessment is required to fully determine repair plans to include cost, schedule and location for the ship’s repairs.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21. The ship suffered significant damage to her port side aft resulting in flooding to nearby compartments, including berthing, machinery, and communications rooms.