USS John S. McCain Now in Japan for Repairs Following Deadly August Collision

December 13, 2017 11:45 AM
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) is lowered from the heavy lift transport MV Treasure on December 13, 2017. John S. McCain will undergo repairs at Ship Repair Facility – Japan Regional Maintenance Center in Yokosuka. (U. S. Navy photo)

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka Wednesday where repairs will be made to fix the damage caused by the deadly Aug. 21 collision with a merchant ship.

McCain arrived in Tokyo Bay on Dec. 5, aboard the heavy lift transport vessel MV Treasure, and for several days crews prepared the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer to be offloaded from the transport ship before it was towed pier side in Yokosuka. Repairs, one of the largest such projects to occur at U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center, are expected to take about a year to complete, according to a statement released by the Navy.

When McCain collided with the tanker Alnic MC outside of Singapore, the merchant ship’s bulbous bow struck the port side of the warship, causing extensive damage and flooding below the waterline, resulting in the death of 10 sailors.

McCain was able to reach the Singapore naval base after the collision, but in order to reach Yokosuka, the Navy determined McCain needed to be transported. McCain left Singapore for Yokosuka on Oct. 5, but was diverted to Subic Bay, Philippines on Oct. 22, due to poor weather conditions and to repair cracks in the ship’s hull discovered after departing Singapore, according to a statement released by the Navy.

Now in Yokosuka, repair work is expected to start soon. The repairs will cost about $223 million and take about a year, according to a Navy cost estimate obtained by USNI News.

Meanwhile, late last month USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) suffered two hull punctures while being loaded onto a special transport vessel hired to bring the guided-missile destroyer to the U.S. from Yokosuka for repairs.

Seven sailors died when Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel in June, off the coast of Japan. The crippled warship had been in Yokosuka since, waiting to be brought back stateside for repairs, according to a statement released by the Navy.

Fitzgerald is slated to be repaired at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Huntington Ingalls 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.

Both McCain and Fitzgerald 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.


Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

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