USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), crippled in a deadly June collision with a merchant ship, suffered two hull punctures over the weekend by the special transport vessel hired to bring the guided-missile destroyer to the U.S. from Japan for repairs.
Fitzgerald returned to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, Japan, to repair the pair of punctures caused by the steel support structure on semi-submersible heavy lift transport vessel Transshelf, owned by the Dutch marine conglomerate Royal Boskalis Westminster. The punctures occurred Friday, after Fitzgerald was towed out to deep water and was loading onto Transshelf, according to a statement released by the U.S. 7th Fleet.
Following the June 17 collision, which claimed the lives of seven sailors, Fitzgerald returned to Yokosuka where initial repairs were made in dry dock, and the ship was prepared to be transported back to the US for major repairs. Work included dewatering, defueling, hull and superstructure repairs, and placing key systems in layup maintenance, according to a statement released by U.S. 7th Fleet.
Since October, Fitzgerald had in the water, pierside, waiting for transport to the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Huntington Ingalls Industries was awarded in August a $29.4 million contract to perform the initial planning work to repair the warship. The total cost to repair Fitzgerald, according to an early Navy estimate obtained by USNI News, is about $368.7 million.
The June collision punched a hole in Fitzgerald below the waterline, and damaged several high-end electronic systems, such as the integrated radio room on the ship and the starboard forward array of the ship’s A/N-SPY1D(v) air search radar, according to the Navy.