Damaged destroyer USS Fitzgerald to be repaired at Huntington Ingalls Industries

Dry-dock photo shows the extent of damage USS Fitzgerald sustained in the collision. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has selected Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) for the restoration of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the US Naval Sea Systems Command has announced.

While the start date, scope, cost and the time required to fully restore the ship have not yet been determined, NAVSEA plans to award the contract before the end of the year.

Although the destroyer was built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine, the navy chose HII following a review of the capabilities and workload of new construction and repair shipyards.

To remind, USS Fitzgerald suffered extensive damage following a collision with Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan on July 17. Seven sailors lost their lives in the incident.

Given the complexity of the work and the significant unknowns of the restoration, the Navy determined that only an Arleigh Burke-class shipbuilder could perform the effort, NAVSEA said adding that only HII had the available capacity to restore USS Fitzgerald to full operational status in the shortest period of time with minimal disruption to ongoing repair and new construction work.

Before it can start repair works, the US Navy will first need to transport the destroyer from Japan to the US. A contract for the heavy lift transport of USS Fitzgerald from SRF-JRMC Yokosuka to the continental United States is still in the works, the navy said.

USS Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline. Compartments that were affected include two berthing spaces, a radio room, a machinery space, and various lockers, passageways, and access trunks. In addition to the restoration effort, the navy intends to incorporate previously planned modernization efforts into the availability that were to have taken place at SRF-JRMC Yokosuka in 2019.

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