Stricken Destroyer USS John S. McCain to be Repaired in Japan

October 4, 2017 4:50 PM
Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) moored pier side at Changi Naval Base, Republic of Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21. Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding. The incident will be investigated. US Navy photo.

THE PENTAGON — The destroyer that was struck by a merchant tanker off Singapore on Aug. 21 will be repaired in Japan, Navy officials told USNI News on Wednesday.

The Navy determined USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) could be repaired at the service’s maintenance facilities in Yokosuka, Japan, rather than be transported to the U.S., the officials told USNI News.

“Damage assessments conducted while the ship was moored in Singapore since the Aug. 21 collision revealed the scope of work could be completed in Japan at the lowest estimated cost and returns the ship to full service at the earliest opportunity,” read a statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet provided to USNI News.
“Repairing the ship in Yokosuka, where it is already part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) assigned to U.S. Seventh Fleet, also provides stability and continuity to crew members and their families.”

McCain suffered a collision from the tanker Alnic MC in which the tanker’s bulbous bow struck the port side of the ship, causing extensive flooding below the waterline that resulted in the death of 10 sailors.

While the damage was severe, the flooding did not damage many electronic components of the ship and was limited mostly to berthing and mechanical spaces, USNI News understands.

According to a Navy cost estimate of the repairs obtained by USNI News, fixing McCain will cost about $223 million and take about a year.

“In addition to supporting repairs to the ship, the crew will focus on training, readiness and certifications to prepare the ship for operational tasking in Seventh Fleet,” PACFLT said.

The Navy is preparing the ship to be transported from Singapore to Yokosuka via a heavy-lift transport by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the Navy is preparing to move the more heavily damaged destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) from Yokosuka to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., in December to undertake a more extensive repair effort after the destroyer was hit by a merchant ship off the coast of Japan on June 17, resulting in the death of seven sailors.

Both ships were part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and were responsible for escorting forward-deployed carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and providing regional ballistic missile defense for U.S. allies from primarily North Korea.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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