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Repairs to Collision-Damaged Destroyer USS McCain Completed

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Image courtesy USN

By The Maritime Executive 2019-10-28 13:44:43

Two years after the destroyer USS John S. McCain was badly damaged in a collision with a tanker off Singapore, the U.S. Navy's Ship Repair Facility-Japan has completed repairs to her hull and equipment, and the ship and her crew are under way for sea trials once more.

On August 21, 2017, the USS McCain collided with the merchant tanker Alnic MC while under way near the Strait of Singapore. In a string of errors leading up to the collision, her bridge team developed the false impression that they had a steering casualty, then lost situational awareness and drifted to port in front of Alnic MC. The tanker's bow punctured the destroyer's hull below the waterline, opening up a berthing area, and ten sailors lost their lives in the flooding that followed. After the incident, the ship transited to Changi Naval Base, Singapore for temporary repairs. The Navy decided to repair the McCain at Ship Repair Facility-Japan in Yokosuka rather than incurring the additional time and expense of shipping her back to a yard in the United States. 

Over the past two years, SRF-J has repaired the ship's hull, refloated her and completed more outfitting work alongside the pier. The Navy used the availability as an opportunity to carry out upgrades to the ship’s computer network, antenna systems, radar array, combat weapons systems and berthing.

The inquiry into the collision found multiple causes, including bridge system design flaws, overtasking, undermanning and incomplete training. This time, USS McCain's sailors have fully completed their in-port training before heading out to sea, and the Navy says that they will continue their basic phase at-sea training to certify their readiness in every mission area. 

"This whole crew is eager to get back to sea, and that's evident in the efforts they've made over the last two years to bring the ship back to fighting shape, and the energy they've put into preparing themselves for the rigors of at-sea operations," said Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, USS McCain's commanding officer. "I'm extremely proud of them as we return the ship to sea, and return to the operational fleet more ready than ever to support security and stability throughout the region."