A vessel struck the docking area of the USS Arizona Memorial Wednesday morning, shutting down tours at the historic Pearl Harbor memorial site.
The crash occurred yesterday when the Hospital Ship USNS Mercy and a civilian tug were maneuvering in Pearl Harbor. According to initial Navy reports, it was the tug boat that hit memorial site, however an investigation has been launched to determine the exact circumstances of the allision.
Most of the damage caused by the incident appears to be localized to the visitor docking area and concrete connecting the dock to the memorial facilities. The National Park Service reports that divers have not seen any damage to the USS Arizona herself.
The U.S. Navy Region Hawaii issued a statement late Wednesday night indicating that memorial site would currently be shut down to vistors. “Due to safety concerns, visitors are not being allowed to disembark at the USS Arizona Memorial. Instead, visitors are able to board the Navy’s white boats and travel to Battleship Row to view the USS Arizona Memorial from a distance.”
The floating dock to the facility has been removed and the Navy and Park Service are still conducting an assessment of the damage. Repairs have already begun on the memorial and the Navy hopes to have the docking area fixed by June 4.
The USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the 1,177 sailors and marines who were killed during the Japanese bombing attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The memorial sits atop the sunken wreckage of the battleship and can only be accessed by sea. Over one million people visit the site annually.