US Navy decides to repair USS John S. McCain in Japan

Instead of transporting the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) to the US for repairs, the US Navy has decided to repair the ship in Yokosuka, Japan.

The navy estimates that the destroyer did not suffer as much damage as the USS Fitzgerald – which will be transported back to the US for repairs – and assesses that the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center can complete the work.

Repairs will begin upon arrival from Singapore aboard a heavy lift vessel in October.

The guided missile destroyer departed Changi Naval Base on Thursday to meet heavy lift transport vessel MV Treasure.

Over the next few days, John S. McCain will be towed to deep water, where the heavy lift vessel will lower itself, secure the ship on a platform and then raise back up out of the water.

After the process of loading the ship is complete, Treasure will transport John S. McCain to Fleet Activities Yokosuka, where the forward deployed ship will be repaired.

The ship was moored in Singapore since the August 21 collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC in which 10 sailors lost their lives.

“Repairing the ship in Yokosuka, where it is already part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) assigned to U.S. Seventh Fleet, also provides stability and continuity to crew members and their families,” the US Navy said.

Sailors work over the side of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) where a temporary patch has been welded to the collision site. Photo: US Navy

An investigation into how John S. McCain and Fitzgerald collided with merchant vessels is underway. The navy has so far relieved six officials deemed responsible for a series of accidents in the Pacific. Task Force 70 (CTF 70) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 commanders were relieved together with the 7th Fleet commander and the command triad of USS Fitzgerald.

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