Home » Budget Industry » Navy to Use Heavy Lift Ship to Bring Stricken USS John S. McCain to Japan


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.

  • Tracey

    So is there still a chance that the McCain could be repaired at dry docks in Yokosuka? I thought it was pretty much a done deal that Ingalls would receive it for repairs, basing on what happened to the Fitzgerald.

    • DaSaint

      I don’t think so. But maybe they’ll let a Japanese shipyard do the repairs. It seems less intense than the Fitz.

      • RobM1981

        I agree. However, Yokosuka definitely could handle it, if they aren’t already working on other things. They have the capabilities, for sure.

        • Centaurus

          To me, all of this stinks of a NORK black-op at just the right time so as to leave us as compromised as possible in the wake of their testing. Regardless of capability vs. reality, Fishead will want to stir the pot and create all the chaos possible.

          • Tracey

            Yes, either that, or some very interesting “coincidental accidents” at sea, involving, “coincidentally” the same strike group, and oh yeah, “coincidentally” ones involving defense against NK in the South China seas. Probably just all one big happen-stance?

          • USNVO

            good words to live by,

            Never assign malicious intent to that which can be explained by incompetence.

          • Tracey

            Yes, I get that, it makes sense, but the sheer coincidence just can’t go unnoticed.

          • Kenneth Millstein

            Are you a conspiracy theorist?

          • Tracey

            As tempting as it is, sadly, No.

        • Secundius

          Expected Repair Facility is to be Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Oppama Shipyard Number 19 at Natsushima-Cho, Yokosuka, Japan…

          • Tracey

            Well that’s some news! A quick decision. If this goes forward, it’ll sure save the navy tons of money on transportation costs alone. I’m surprised that the full repairs can be accomplished near homeport, without having to go stateside. Someone said something about the hull not being bent, so that makes repairs easier? I wonder how long the repairs will take?

          • Kenneth Millstein

            The repairs will most likely take about 18 months, if not longer.

          • Kenneth Millstein

            I really like your expertise.

          • Secundius

            A “Foiable” of mine! I tend to put out too much information on a Specified Subject…

          • Kenneth Millstein

            Never stop providing lot’s of info. It’s a wonderful habit!

          • Secundius

            Thanks! But don’t tell that to “Curtis”, It’ll go to his head…

      • Tracey

        Yes, but I think space is an issue, it seems they want to leave those docks open for normal fleet repaires, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

        • DaSaint

          Well I can’t see the USN scheduling any heavy-lift ships to transit the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico until after Hurricane Season ends in November…can’t afford to literally lose a DDG off the back of a ship.

    • USNVO

      It almost sounds like they are sending it to Japan to assess whether they should either do temporary repairs in Japan so it can return to the states on its own power for permenant repairs, be heavy lifted to the states for permenant repairs, or if they should do the entire repair in Japan. The McCain doesn’t appear to have the same level of damage to critical systems so it is more a massive refurbishing of flooded spaces and less major fabrication and replacement.

      • Tracey

        Sounds very true, I guess at this point it’s a wait and see.

  • plkatk

    Are the McCain’s ballistic missile defense systems still able to function? If so, maybe she’s being positioned to fight off a North Korean missile attack until other capable ships arrive to relieve her and the Fitzgerald.

    • Tracey

      Good point, sounds reasonable.

    • Bruce Parker

      The VLS Launchers are All on the Foredeck, so Yes, she could still provide some protection for the Yokuska area!

      • plkatk

        The VLS launchers appear to be damage free at the weather deck level. But below decks?? And what about the function of the Aegis system — is it intact and fully functional after such an impact?

  • CaptainParker

    I suspect the damage may be far more extensive than the Navy has admitted to. Otherwise, why not leave it for repair at Singapore? The ex-British naval base there has a full-size drydock and other facilities.

    • Tracey

      I would think that the preferred location of a U.S. Naval warship would be either it’s homeport, or stateside. Leaving it to these type of long term repairs in Singapore is probably just not an option.
      I suppose on the business side, as to awarding contracts and all, this would preferably go to our closest, host ally, (Japan), or our own stateside businesses; Ingalls in Mississippi, or where it was built, Bath, Main. (Which, in itself, seems to be another argument as well as some hurt feelings in Maine. They feel entitled because they built the ship. I don’t blame them either, everyone needs the business. But in the end, costs and overruns are major deciding factors.)

      • CaptainParker

        I would opt for Bath. They have a history of bringing in their ships on time or ahead of schedule and with no cost overruns.

        • Bruce Parker

          Bath built DDG-51 Class ships Cost several Million dollars More than Ingalls Built Ships of the same class, and there’s the additional distance to Maine! USS Fitzgerald will go to Ingalls!

  • Centaurus

    Fried fish-head anyone ?

  • Kim Chul Soo

    These folks aren’t in any hurry. They’ve been gumming about this for over a month.