Navy awards contract to bring damaged Fitzgerald back to United States

By Thomas Duffy / August 29, 2017 at 10:49 AM

The Navy has given a New Orleans shipping company a $3 million contract to "float" the Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer damaged in a June 17 collision at sea, back to the United States for repairs.

Patriot Shipping will use a float on/float off vessel to lift the Fitzgerald from its berth at Yokosuka, Japan and will transport the ship to the U.S. Gulf Coast or U.S. East Coast, according to a request for proposals the Navy issued Aug. 2. This approach is similar to how the Cole (DDG-67) was transported back to the United States in 2000 following a bombing in Yemen's Aden Harbor.

In June, the Fitzgerald collided with a cargo tanker off the coast of Japan, resulting in the death of seven sailors.

While the Fitzgerald was built by Bath Iron Works, the Navy recently determined Huntington Ingalls Industries will get a contract to restore the damaged destroyer.

The service will award the repair contract before the end of this fiscal year, according to a Navy statement.

"The start date, scope, cost and the time required to fully restore the ship have not yet been determined," the statement reads.

According to the Navy's RFP, the transport will take place between Sept. 15 and Oct. 31.

The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing next week on "underlying problems" surrounding recent naval ship collisions. Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, head of Naval Surface Forces, is scheduled to testify.