Damaged US warship John S. McCain heads to Japan for repairs

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By Jite Eriabie 

The U.S. Navy will repair the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) at the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center in Yokosuka, Japan.

Repairs will begin upon arrival from Singapore aboard a heavy lift vessel in October, the Navy said.

“Damage assessments conducted while the ship was moored in Singapore since the Aug. 21 collision revealed the scope of work could be completed in Japan at the lowest estimated cost and returns the ship to full service at the earliest opportunity,” the Navy said in a statement.

“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 statement added.

In addition to supporting repairs, the McCain’s crew will focus on training, readiness, and certifications to prepare the ship for its return to the Seventh Fleet, according to the Navy.

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21. The collision killed ten U.S. Navy sailors and caused significant damage to the hull of the McCain, which resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms.

On Thursday, the USS John S. McCain departed Changi Naval Base to meet the heavy lift transport vessel MV Treasure, which will transport it to  Fleet Activities Yokosuka for repairs.

The McCain incident followed a collision involving the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a merchant tanker off the coast of Japan in June. In that case, the U.S. Navy decided to contract a semi-submersible heavy lift vessel to transport the USS Fitzgerald to Ingalls Shipbuilding Pascagoula, Mississippi for repairs.

Investigations are underway to determine the facts and circumstances of both collisions. 

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