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

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.

  • BlueSky47

    Of course, if Duane was here he’d say “No LCS has ever been involved in an accident nor as any LCS sailor every been killed or hurt. These facts prove that the LCS is the best warship ever-bar none.”

    • muzzleloader

      LoL

    • John Locke

      Duane is to LCS what a Mall Ninja is to AR-15’s

    • Duane

      It must be tough in life to live with a one track mind, dedicated to trolling the internet.

      • El Kabong

        It must be tough in life to live with a one track mind, dedicated to trolling the internet.

        Oh, the irony!

  • DaSaint

    In addition to the work being mostly to the hull and not to electronics, I think it was probably important for them not to disrupt the crew and their families, as they are forward deployed. The fact that Ingalls is also going to be repairing the Fitz already, as well as their current and projected DDG and Amphib work, also probably factored, in that they didn’t want to add another specialized job to that yard. Makes sense.

  • Duane

    This approach makes a great deal of sense for the McCain.

    It’s a little more troubling that only 50 members of the Fitz’s crew are being kept assigned to the ship as it goes through overhaul, with the rest being reassigned elsewhere. That seems highly unusual, and perhaps the Navy investigators have found issues with the officers and crew extending below the top layer that was already removed from the ship. Or perhaps it was just economics, cheaper to keep them in Yokosuka than to move them back stateside.

    • NavySubNuke

      Where did you see that about the 50 sailors? It isn’t mentioned in this article and does seem strange.

      • El Kabong

        Not in Duaney’s mind…

      • JimmyJM

        I don’t know if there’s been an official announcement to that effect but I was told by Ship’s Force that that would be the contingent supporting the ship on her way home.

        • NavySubNuke

          That makes sense – you don’t want the full crew on the transport ship —- but that is very different than having 50 for the length of the overhaul.

          • JimmyJM

            As I mentioned, the ship will be treated as new construction. Ship’s Force will live in barracks and the complement will change, probably daily. The ship will be manned since they don’t want to decommission her but it will probably be mostly yard workers on board.

    • JimmyJM

      Fifty sailors will ride with the ship as she heads home. After that, you can expect rotations and such. But FITZ will be treated as new construction so her sailors will be in schools and getting training aboard other ships. The manning will keep pace with the repairs. V/r, -JJ

      • Duane

        It is not customary practice for the Navy to replace 80+% of a ship’s crew just because it is going into drydock for repairs or overhaul. Crews are normally kept intact going into the shipyard, with normal rotations in and out due to sea/shore rotations, promotions, and discharges. The repairs are estimated to take a little more than a year, so one would expect about a 1/3 turnover in that timeframe, not 5/6 turnover. The question is, is this just a cost-saving move, or does it reflect a need to disperse what the Navy believes to be a dysfunctional complement of officers and crew?

        • JimmyJM

          Conspiracy theory? I repeat, the ship will be treated as new construction. This is not a “repair” evolution by a long shot (and will almost certainly take longer than a year). Ships being built will have crew members assigned until the complement is at normal manning levels as the construction continues. Since FITZ will remain in commission, a few watchstanders will be needed but that’s about it. Fifty personnel to start with should be more than enough. Add to that that many of the current crew members want to remain here in Japan and are being assigned to billets on other ships homeported here and this level of manning makes sense.

          • Duane

            No conspiracy suggested. This is not a new construction ship, far from it, it’s a aged commissioned warship, so quit saying that. It is a repair/overhaul evolution, and the Navy does not normally replace 5/6 of the crew of any commissioned warship during repair/overhaul.

          • JimmyJM

            I repeat, she will be TREATED AS new construction. I had a man with a star on his collar tell me that and I’d take his word over yours any day particularly since you’ve obviously never been involved with new construction. They will be cutting out sections of the ship and replacing them. That is not a “repair/overhaul” availability.

          • Duane

            I guess we can take your word for it, because everybody knows that an anonymous JimmyJM knows a guy with a star on his caller .. trust him, he know!

  • Frank Langham

    It is unfortunate that both DDGs could not be repaired in-theater. I hope that the Fitz will leave some of her “stuff” behind, for other ships to employ.