The US Navy (USN) launched the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) on 16 April and moored the ship pier-side at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII’s) Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard, hitting a major milestone in the ship’s complex repair and restoration.
The relatively speedy relaunch of the ship, according to USN officials, has been the result of unique teaming and maintenance arrangements involving industry and naval workforces and engineering talent.
Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal in June 2017, causing extensive damage to the starboard side above and below the waterline and led to the deaths claimed of seven sailors.
The ship arrived in Pascagoula in January 2018 for an Extended Dry-Docking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA), which included restoration, modification, and modernisation. The work thus far has focused on restoring the integrity of the hull and topside structures.
Noting the challenging complexity of the overhaul, Rear Admiral Jim Downey, deputy commander for surface warfare and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center, touted the combined efforts of the Bath Iron Works planning team and the HII waterfront workers to execute repairs and install upgrades.
Now that the ship is back in the water, Rear Adm Downey said, the USN can focus on the outfitting and testing necessary to get the ship and crew back under way.
The USN also had underscored the work done by members from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) Waterfront Operations Department, saying the Fitzgerald availability has been a “total team effort” by the three major regional maintenance centers (RMC) – Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC), Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC), and MARMC.
Project managers and shipbuilding specialists (SBS) from the three RMCs have rotated taking leads in executing the availability, MARMC project manager Kenneth Millington said.
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