US shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) will be awarded a contract for the restoration of the damaged US Navy warship USS Fitzgerald that was involved in a deadly collision with the NYK Line-operated containership ACX Crystal over two months ago.
The Navy said it intends to award the contract to HII in Pascagoula, Mississippi, before the end of the fiscal year.
“The start date, scope, cost and the time required to fully restore the ship have not yet been determined,” the Navy added.
As explained, 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 work.
Additionally, the Navy is evaluating proposals to award a contract for the heavy lift transport of USS Fitzgerald from SRF-JRMC Yokosuka to the continental United States.
USS Fitzgerald was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal on June 17. Seven US sailors died as a result of the collision outside the Tokyo Bay.
The warship suffered damage on its 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.
The Philippines-flagged cargo ship was reportedly on autopilot when the pre-dawn collision occurred. The boxship rammed into the berthing area of the navy ship suffering considerable damage to its bow.
The Japanese investigators informed earlier that they had recovered the ship’s data recorder and that they are investigating the cause of the incident.
The Sub-Panamax containership is currently underway using engine in the Philippine Sea bound for Port Laem Chabang, Thailand (THLCH), the ship’s tracking data shows.
Based on the findings of a US Navy probe into the incident, the collision between ACX Crystal and USS Fitzgerald was avoidable as both ships demonstrated poor seamanship.