Home » News & Analysis » Destroyer USS John S. McCain Developed Hull Crack in Transit on Heavy Lift Vessel; Ship Routed to Philippines for Inspection


Destroyer USS John S. McCain Developed Hull Crack in Transit on Heavy Lift Vessel; Ship Routed to Philippines for Inspection

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) departs Singapore on the heavy lift transport MV Treasure, Oct. 11, 2017. US Navy Photo

Destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) developed a 4-inch crack in its hull while being transported via heavy lift vessel and will be rerouted to the Philippines for inspection, a U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman told USNI News.

Following an Aug. 21 collision with merchant vessel Alnic MC, McCain was being transported from Singapore, where the collision occurred, to Yokosuka, Japan, where repairs will take place. During the transit on heavy lift transport vessel MV Treasure, the crack – “about four inches long on the starboard side, amidships” with an accompanying small dent – was noticed, Cmdr. Clay Doss told USNI News.

The new damage, combined with inclement weather and heavy seas associated with Typhoon Lan, forced Treasure to reroute to the Philippines.

“Once pier side, experts will inspect the crack and determine if any additional repairs are needed before continuing to Yokosuka,” Doss said.
“MV Treasure had already slowed because of the storm, and pulling in allows inspection of the small crack while the weather improves.”

The Navy determined McCain could be repaired in Yokosuka, Japan, due to the nature of the damage – berthing and mechanical spaces were flooded and damaged, but many of the major electrical systems were unharmed, unlike the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collision that destroyed the ship’s radar and combat system. Transporting the ship to Japan instead of the United States for repairs would be the quicker and less costly decision, with the Navy determining the repairs could be completed in Yokosuka for about $223 million.

  • Gee’s their goes the Repair Bill. Looks like we’re gona have to cut the LCS to pay for the repair cost

  • Mike Mulligan

    Another sign of brass incompetence. Honestly, can these guys win a war?

    • Duane

      The “brass” have nothing to do with this. Really, that’s ridiculous. Do you even know anything about the condition of the McCain’s hull before the transit? Other than “no”?

      The prior collision undoubtedly imposed massive stresses on the McCain’s hull far beyond the visible big indentation. Any prior over-stress of hull plates, ribs, and other structural elements of the hull near to or beyond yield strength can result in other parts of the hull being easily damaged when new stresses are applied.

      Also, the “brass” don’t design and install the hull supports on the transport ship. The :”brass” is not responsible for the actual stresses imposed on the McCain’s hull by the storm that the transport ship rode through.

      The “brass” are responsible for command issues that certainly caused or at least contributed to the collision. Moving the McCain on a transport ship is the necessary means of transit to a capable shipyard for repair. So you’d do what instead? Hope that the McCain was intact structurally sufficient to cruise on its own and somehow survive the cruise to Japan? During a tropical storm?

      • Antigonos Gonatias

        Assuming that the ship in the photo,is McCain.Is it possible that the stresses,that caused the crack,are due to the loading on MV Treasure?Specifically,due to fact that the bow and stern are “hanging”in the air?

        • FelixA9

          The Cole was moved the same way.

          • Mike Mulligan

            Navy Times: “Nearly one in four troops polled say they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members, and troops rate it as a larger national security threat than Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new Military Times poll.
            The troops were surveyed about one month after white supremacist groups and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

  • KenPrescott

    If it wasn’t for bad luck, the USS McCain wouldn’t have any luck…

  • Duane

    A four inch long crack accompanied by a “small dent” is not necessarily major damage, but the fact that it was observed gives the opportunity to treat the crack to ensure that it doesn’t propogate, which is the way to handle it. Also provides an opportunity to determine if/where additional hull supports are needed to reduce/eliminate excessive stress.

    It IS quite likely that various elements of the McCain’s hull structure were overstressed by the collision, even if they did not appear visibly damaged. Such overstressed elements then are more subject to damage when new stresses are applied. It’s not just the visible big “dent” and hole in the hull that will likely have to be fully assessed and repaired. Once in drydock there’ll be a lot of testing, including radiographing welds and other elements to determine what needs to be replaced.

    • DaSaint

      Agree that clearly additional stresses are active now that the vessel is out of the water. And bad weather causes additional motion, which again causes stress.

      That repair bill just increased by at least 10%.

      • Curtis Conway

        A huge part of it is the ‘oil can’ effect without support of the ocean. We experienced this IN the water off of Iceland for two weeks in 20′ seas.

        • leroy

          I assume you meant bobbing around in high seas. And I believe you mentioned how well Coast Guard cutters in the same waters seemed to “cut” through the waves with a lot less “oil canning”.

          Another reason why we really should be looking at the navalized NSC as a replacement for the LCS which of course replaced the OHP. It’s beyond me why the USN can’t seem to come to (fast) grips with the fact that we need a capable, affordable, SEAWORTHY FFG if we are going to create a Navy that can effectively patrol the world’s ocean. Underneath, on and above. That, and …

          More manning/training/maint to make sure what we send out there is going to be able to operate and fight should a missile attack pop up from nowhere, as happened off the coast of Yemen. I just read a story where the Chinese think our Navy is overstretched, undertrained, poor morale and can’t fight. Not a good impression to leave with the PLAN.

          Web Search; “Is the U.S. Navy Weak? The Chinese Seem to Think So” and have a good read. Always know what the enemy thinks, and after these two collisions (Fitz, McCain), I can understand why bad-guy navies around the world might be more tempted to take a potshot at us.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m with you Leroy. The oil-canning will happen in a torsion event with or without support from the ocean. In our case off the coast of Iceland, it was definitely the North Atlantic bending us big time. I recall the US Coast Guard Hamilton Class Cutter Dallas was in company, and I can distinctly remember her punching into waves and disappearing for all practical purposes, then popping out the other side of huge waves, and up all at the same time. Those Coasties had my respect from then on. The USCG Cutters are build to a tougher standard in the hull, and that came out in congressional testimony after the first two Legend Class Cutters came out of the yards and went on sea trials. The stiffening of hatches and such was a problem, so those two were fixed, and the change was made in the rest of the force. Their hull life is over 40 years.

            The 963 Spruance 6,900 ton hull mounted with the three more tons really puts the torque on that long slim hull when in tough Arctic seas. THAT is why the DDG-51 has the hull form it does, and its completely made of steel. She (DDG-51) can shoot in higher sea states than we could too. We actually had multi-ton Mk-26 missile hatch doors leaking and had to be sealed until we got back into port. I recall the message that requested information on potential damage to the SM-2s in the ready service ring that had to be washed down with fresh water to prevent damage, and they never asked about the sailor that had to put on a harness and go out on deck in this weather and put RTV under the knife edge to seal the door. Told us right where we stood in their scheme of things.

            Today, we rarely send a CG-47 North of the Arctic Circle, but a DDG-51 will go in a heartbeat, just gotta watchout for the ice. A berg hitting the Rubber Window will ruin your whole day . . . week . . . month . . . and ‘drydock here we come’.

          • leroy

            The North Atlantic is famed for its violent sea states, and many a WW-II Merchant Marine Mariner could attest to that (however many are still alive. I talked to one once who told me how he was fished out of the water in the Winter after his ship was sunk. He doesn’t know how he survived because he was covered with ice, but he did. He showed me a picture. Don’t know where he got it. The guy was like a man in an ice cube. He called the water’s cold hades on Earth). Anyway, thank God for the HTs that have to go out and fix things under those conditions. They earn their pay, that’s for sure! Now …

            About that navalized NSC. I don’t know why it isn’t already being built. We already have a great hull, great tech to put on it. In my mind, no need to go shopping around for something else. And I don’t want whatever ship they choose as the next FFG to be built overseas. We send enough money NATO’s way. That’s why they have a moral obligation to buy from us, but we meet our obligations to them in $$$, manpower and when necessary – lives. All to protect their liberty, sovereignty and freedom. That’s how we get to Win – Win!

            Your briefings, expertise and sea stories are important. Keep them coming!

          • Secundius

            That’s because the Next Generation Frigate Design Competition isn’t until 2019, that’s why. And even then the First Frigate “Keel” won’t be laid before 2020, if then. And there’s no guarantee that the Patrol Frigate variant of the “NSC” will even win the Competition…

          • muzzleloader

            On the subject of the North Atlantic: may I recommend the novel, The Cruel Sea, by Nicholis Monserrat. It is about life on a Royal Navy destroyer during the battle of the North Atlantic during WW2.
            It was written in the 50’s I believe, I read it in high school, and I have never forgotten it.

    • RDF

      Cradle support vice ocean support. Happens all the time. Even in your local marina.

      • Duane

        The guys who do that understand that, they do it every day with normal, non-overstressed hulls. But they cannot understand exactly which parts of the McCain’s hull were already overstressed by the collision.

  • Mike Mulligan

    Bet you the coups de grace of the McCain came about though our own hands. Luck had nothing to do with it. It is the end of the road with the McCain. I wouldn’t trust any of these ships at ever again at sea. Especially in their repetitive harsh environment. What kind of nuts is this with moving this fragile ship in hurricane season? Now you got gambling culture still in the 7th fleet leadership. I told you guys this is a cascade accident. Uncontrollable incidences piling up one after another begun by the first, gaining energy from each other. You can’t tell me the emergency timing and route of the transport wasn’t based on the dire emergency of loosing two ships already in a secret dire emergency based on a lack of capacity even before the first collision. You generally still have a dire emergency and lack of capacity with everything 7th fleet!!!

  • Mike Mulligan

    And I will make the case your advisories knew about the 7th fleet’s dire low capacity emergency before your top brass and politicians knew about it!!!

  • Mike Mulligan

    Sorry: adversaries

  • Mike Mulligan

    Is this the ship, it can’t be?
    “The MV Treasure oil spill occurred on 23 June 2000, when the ship sank six miles off the coast of South Africa while transporting iron ore from China to Brazil.

    • Da Facts

      Heavy Lift Ship Treasure IMO Number 8617940 Built 1990 was named Jahre Traveller 1990-1993, Nord Jahre Traveller 1993-2000, Crude Traveller 2000-2003, Genmar Traveller 2003-2004, Front Traveller 2004-2008, Treasure 2008 to present. She is a tanker converted to Heavy Lift.
      MV Treasure IMO 8011251 Built 1983 was built as a bulker, and sunk in 2000.

      • Mike Mulligan

        How Many MV Treasure ships are out there? I am still confused.

        • Da Facts

          Quite a few. A very quick search of just one site (ShipSpotting) found IMO 5331870, 8617940, 9184859, 6803399…ect Then there are the derivatives like Hyundai Treasure, Hual Treasure, Hebei Treasure, Cape Treasure ….

  • Mike Mulligan

    Commander of MSC Far East fired for fraternization. The ship is a Singapore based ship. Wasn’t Fat Leonard based in Singapore. Seems the Commander didn’t get the email on Fat Leonard with following all Navy rules. Do you now really trust any of the Commanders prior work. I am surprised drugs weren’t involved in any of this. The Military Sealift Command was guys who contracted the John McCain’s heavy sealift transport ship MV Treasure. I am surprised I haven’t seen a Navy Report on the condition of the maintenance and shipyard markets in the 7th fleet’s area…the typical players? Fat Leonard says the shipyard business is riddled with collision and fraud. I am surprised the Navy hasn’t held accountable the shipyard CEOs and officials accountable. Blacklist any of them if they are associated with corruption. Claw back any excessive monies associated with the Fat Leonard and any others. Have a healthy shipyard market. But how seriously would this further degraded national security with the 7th fleets? Would they withhold resources from the 7th fleet. Right, we are putting a serous military protection over and around these Nations. Why isn’t ship or military maintenance “on the house”. Special privileges and higher quality than normal. How much State Department monies do we give Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, the Philippines and all the rest. How about a decent living for anyone working on Navy ships? These horrible working conditions always seriously undercut the US shipyard business.

    • Da Facts

      McCain is not a Singapore Based ship. It happened to be transiting the Singapore Straits at the time.

      • Mike Mulligan

        Good to know! But where is the Far East Military Sealift Command located? The brass knows what I was talking about.

      • Jim Crotty

        Toward the strait, not in it.

  • Ed L

    A DDG 505 feet long, putting a ship on blocks is all about the engineering and the math. Did someone skimp on the equipment. Or is the MV Treasure while is 711 feet the well is too short. Isn’t there a Vessel like the MV Blue Marlin 738 feet whos well was large enough that the Cole did not hang out. There are plenty of photos out there showing the USS Cole on the Blue Marlin.

    • Mike Mulligan

      Great comment!!!

    • Da Facts

      Not an expert on loading ships on heavy lift ships but… My understanding is overhanging the bow and stern is by design, to clear the sonar dome and rudders. This allows the ship to be carried lower on the deck of the lift ship. I would presume the support locations used are the same ones used when the ship is in drydock. If you look at a Burke class in drydock, the bow and stern are also hanging.

      • Ed L

        The USS Cole was not carried home that way

        • Da Facts

          Actually, yes it was. A tad straighter, but with the same idea. If you look at where the keel blocks go on a Burke DDG (or most any warship) both ends are not supported. If they had placed her on a larger ship, they would have had to have her ride higher in the air, to allow clearance of obstructions.

          • Jay Standring

            USS COLE was carried home on the BLUE MARLIN in a very similar fashion. You can easily google the pics.

            I worked for MSC then – am well-versed in Flo/Flo ops. A few things – if you want to move a DDG (or any vessel, really) via Flo/Flo – you are at the mercy of the oil industry – who uses these ships almost exclusively (some are involved in yacht transport). The industry spends a lot of $ for their commercial work – often the Flo/Flo ships have schedules that are booked a full year in advance.

            So – for emergent work – you may get who is available.

            The BLUE MARLIN was enlarged after the COLE mission – she had excess capacity when she transported the COLE – she would be way “too much ship” for this mission.

            The Flo/Flo ships have lift capacity (per ship) in excess of our requirements (DDGs don’t come near what they can carry – weight-wise – and the hull looks adequately supported to me. I can’t tell a lot from picture – but their seems to be a fair amount of sea-fastenings (the visible steel structure) which may (or may not) be totally necessary. Sometimes – they are “insurance”.

            Da Facts’ commments appears to be spot on.

            I don’t understand Mike’s comments disparaging MSCFE (Singapore) wrt this mission. They would have had very little input (perhaps none) as to Flo/Flo ship selection – that is done at HQ (Norfolk) – with technical and contracting experts there (and likely some NAVSEA input). MSC completed a Flo/Flo mission almost every two years since the COLE – indeed in a few years -⎌we had two missions almost simultaneously.

          • Mike Mulligan

            We having senior officers fraternizing with younger officers is highly destructive to the organization. If the Navy is not adequately funding the 7th fleet critical ops, these ancillary commands are worst. It is the nature of the Navy becoming more none transparent to outsiders like me. There is very little information on the internet. I know the limitation of wiki, it is were I got my information from it was far east MSC operations. I just want to understand. Any funding and personal problems with the NAVSEA or MSC? Remember directly post the Fitzarald, I read a FIOA report on the problems on the USS Fort Worth. It was funding problems and crew severe demoralization…the senior command abandoned the sailors on board. I predicted in a NYTs article comment section it was fleet wide and declared the Fitz was the tip of the iceberg. Immersion is really powerful force. I declared during or post next war we would have a full scale congressional or presidential blue ribbon commission on extremely poor military readiness. I was right. The Navy should have taken the collision of the Fitz much more seriously. If they did, we wouldn’t have had the McCain. I studied organizational failure for the last twenty years. I directly lead to uncovering a $750 million dollar bank fraud with “American Tissue” over a sliver of information in my tiny town. This was a ignored symptom of the upcoming 2009 financial crisis. The owners were Iranian based and now it jail. I think it was money washing and amplification. Nobody knows where the bulk of monies went. Big picture, most organizations operate uncreatively is a similar manner. Basic human behavior and needs across the board are boringly identical across the planet!!!

          • Ed L

            keel blocks on Aircraft carriers don’t go all the way to the bow or the stern either.

    • Duane

      Yeah, except all of the math is built around the design drawings and design stresses for each of the elements of the hull.

      The instant that a 60,000 ton merchant ship t-bones the hull, all those design stresses go out the window. The damage you see in terms of damaged hull plates and ribs is only the “tip of the
      iceberg”. All of those overstresses that the McCain experienced are guaranteed to have radiated beyond the visible deformations. There is no way to model that on a computer with the available data. Any hull component that was overstressed, even with little to no visible deformation, is going to be subject to additional deformation or failure when any new stresses, even “normal” stresses, are applied.

      • El Kabong

        Show us that math, Duaney.

        • Duane

          Why don’t you try and stop trolling, El whatever you are.

          • El Kabong

            Why don’t you try and stop trolling Duaney, whatever you are.

  • b2

    When “S” happens once in a great while is acceptable, when it “S” happens regularly it implies buffoonery and negligence, resulting from technical incompetence or poor leadership. Rickover or Thach would have an aneurism over this tale of woe that my Navy seems to self inflict weekly ….
    All week leadership must live in crisis management mode worrying about how it is going to message its recurring bad news vice correct the pattern through tough love that is unacceptable in todays PC doublespeak environment…

  • Bob Clarke

    All should read “where Away” the account of the voyage of the USS Marblehead, (CL 12) after SEVERE damage a few days into WW2 and being reported sunk by BOTH Japs andUS. All done with heavy personnel cashualites, before computers, limited parts, operated going astern for thousands of miles and eventually getting to Brooklyn Navy. yard without assistance from Heavy Lift ship. What a dramatic comparison

    • Jay Standring

      The USS MARBLEHEAD saga is impressive. I suspect if Flo/Flo ships existed in the 1940s – they might have been seen as a fantastic alternative to what she was forced to undergo. There exists today – at least one ship capable of transporting a CVN – see the Dockwise Vanguard.

    • Mike Mulligan

      Yep, the greatest generation always!!!

    • Secundius

      The Author wouldn’t happen to be Robert Owens would it?/!

    • Keith B. Rosenberg

      I have heard of the Marblehead’s voyage, but I had never heard of a book about it until today.

  • Western

    That will buff out.

    • Eric Colegrove

      Little silicone calk should take care of that.

      • Jim Crotty

        Masking Tape won’t work? LOL

      • Alexander Marinesko

        Duck tape…..

  • Mike Mulligan

    I guess they don’t like me talking about the recent past Far East Military Sealift Command senior officer. The command who choose the RV Treasure. Will this get past the censor now? Thank you for removing that offensive post aimed at me.

    • Da Facts

      Fat Leonard wasn’t a military commander, he was the Malaysian civilian CEO of Glenn Marine Defense Asia. A shameful number of senior officers were implicated and convicted of crimes from receiving excessive ‘gifts’ to out right bribery in exchange for information on ships movements, and actually, literally steering ships to Singapore to drive work to Glenn Marine, which in turn was fraudulently overcharging the Navy.

      • Mike Mulligan

        That reminds me of the Russian traitor John Walker. I spent all my time on the east coast and was assigned to the fast attack USS Lipscomb SSN 685. We were a experimental submarine. Our propulsion was two DC turbo generators and a gigantic main electric motor. Spent most of my time way, way up north in ice water. We were the quietest sub in the fleet. And also the slowest 🙂 I took great comfort our adversaries couldn’t detect us. But Mr. Walker gave the position of all fast attacks throughout my enlistment. I learn this post Navy.

        • El Kabong

          I recall the Victor III class subs being called the “Walker class” thanks to that traitor’s information.

        • SDW

          A few years later I was watching a movie of sorts about the Walker ring. My wife (at then not a US citizen) was watching with me. She knew, basically, what I did for a living. At one point she turned to me and said “If I even thought you might be doing something like that I’d turn you in so fast your head wouldn’t have time to spin!”
          I believed her.

          • Mike Mulligan

            We all are the greatist ” role playing” species on the planet.

  • pikeman

    The USS McCain is likely done.

  • MacBobT

    The crack was found in the head of the John McCain.

    • Mike Mulligan

      This wouldn’t happening if they had to sign on with their real identifies?

      • David Jaycox

        BS Here’s mine

        • Mike Mulligan

          You are a good man David.

  • BigDean

    This never wouldn’t happend with the LITTORAL combat ship, because, well duh, it’s operates only in the LITTORALS 😛

  • Jim

    223 Million dollars to repair? Will the main shafts line up correctly or will there be excessive vibration and wear from the out of line thrusting and pressure eventually causing more cracks and possible scuttling of the ship? How much does a new DDG cost? Dismantle and put the systems on a new platform.

    • BlueSky47

      I’ve got a great idea, let’s just scrape the hull and put all the ‘systems’ and weapons on a new build LCS (since it lacks both), I’m sure it can handle it since it has tonns of room for growth and it’s isn’t already overweight, or has a lack of power, or cooling, or manning, or space, or toughness, or CBR protection, or……. 😛

      • El Kabong

        Uh-oh… Queue Duane in 3…2…1..

    • SDW

      The USS McCain is on life support. I expect the plug to be pulled when the Senate no longer has anyone personally invested. That said, I wish only the best to both.

  • Refguy

    Soudn’t be a surprise to anyone.

  • TimUwe

    And I though auto body shops were expensive. Go Navy!

    • Donald Carey

      Divide the weight of an average sedan into the weight of the McCain, then multiply your typical several thousand $ auto shop bill by that….