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USS Fitzgerald Leaves Mississippi Drydock After More Than a Year of Repairs

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) sits inside a dry-dock in preparation for launch at Huntington Ingalls Industries Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard on April 16, 2019. US Navy Photo

After more than a year of repairs, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) left a dry dock at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., Naval Sea Systems Command announced late Tuesday.

The destroyer was heavily damaged after a June 17, 2017 collision with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan that killed seven sailors.

Merchant ship ACX Crystal punched a hole in the amidships of the starboard side of the destroyer below the water line. The flared bow of the merchant ship crushed the superstructure of the ship. The subsequent flooding below decks caused extensive damage to the electrical systems.

“These repairs range from partial to complete refurbishment of impacted spaces to replacement of equipment such as the radar and electronic warfare suite, read a statement from Naval Sea Systems Command. “Due to the extent and complexity of the restoration, both repair and new construction procedures are being used to accomplish the restoration and modernization efforts.”

After the ship limped back under its own power to Japan, the Navy made the decision to barge the ship over to Pascagoula for an intensive repair period to rebuild the damaged portions of the destroyer and replace damaged components. The ship arrived in January 2018.

NAVSEA did not provide an estimated cost of the repairs, but a Navy estimate obtained by USNI News in late 2017 put the total repair cost at about $327 million.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) pierside at Huntington Ingalls Industries Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard on April 16, 2019. US Navy Photo

“The complexity of this overhaul has been challenging, but our planning team at Bath Iron Works and waterfront team at HII is executing repairs and installing upgrades so that Fitzgerald returns to our sailors lethal and mission-ready,” said Rear Adm. Jim Downey, deputy commander for surface warfare and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center said in a NAVSEA statement. “We’re excited to have the ship back in the water where we can begin outfitting and testing efforts in support of getting the ship and crew back underway.”

NAVSEA did not provide an anticipated delivery date for Fitzgerald.

USS John S. McCain (DDG-62), which suffered a similar collision that killed 10 sailors on August 20, 2017, is undergoing repairs in Japan.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) at Huntington Ingalls Industries Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard on April 16, 2019. US Navy Photo

The following is the April 16, 2018 statement from NAVSEA.

USS Fitzgerald Leaves Dry Dock, Continues Repairs Pierside in Pascagoula From NAVSEA Office of Corporate Communications

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) took another step toward returning to the fleet as a fully ready, combat-capable ship. The ship achieved a milestone in its complex repair and restoration as it successfully launched and moored pier-side at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) – Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard, April 16.

The launch reflects more than a year’s worthof effort in restoring and modernizing one of the U.S. Navy’s most capable warships. Since the ship’s arrival in Pascagoula in January 2018, work has focused on restoring the integrity of the hull and topside structures that were damaged during a collision in 2017 that claimed the lives of seven Sailors.

“The complexity of this overhaul has been challenging, but our planning team at Bath Iron Works and waterfront team at HII is executing repairs and installing upgrades so that Fitzgerald returns to our Sailors lethal and mission-ready,” said Rear Adm. Jim Downey, deputy commander for surface warfare and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center. “We’re excited to have the ship back in the water where we can begin outfitting and testing efforts in support of getting the ship and crew back underway.”

To restore the impacted spaces to full operations and functionality, various Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E), Combat System (CS) and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C5I) repairs are being conducted. These repairs range from partial to complete refurbishment of impacted spaces to replacement of equipment such as the radar and electronic warfare suite. The ship is also receiving HM&E, Combat System and C5I
modernization upgrades. Due to the extent and complexity of the restoration, both repair and new construction procedures are being used to accomplish the restoration and modernization efforts.

“This undocking is a step forward and brings us that much closer to getting Fitzgerald back out to sea – where the ship belongs,” said Cmdr. Garrett Miller, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer. “I’m proud of this crew’s hard work over the past year and look forward returning to the fleet with enhanced warfighting capability and lethality.”

Throughout this restoration period, the U.S. Navy has made it a priority to ensure Fitzgerald returns to a peak state of warfighting readiness to contribute to an agile and dynamic fleet.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five systems commands. NAVSEA m engineers, builds, buys and maintains the m Navy’s ships, submarines and combat systems to meet the fleet’s current and future operational requirements.