US warship heads to Japan for repairs

The USS John S. McCain being towed away from Changi Naval Base yesterday. Heavy-lift transport vessel MV Treasure will transport it to Yokosuka, Japan.
The USS John S. McCain being towed away from Changi Naval Base yesterday. Heavy-lift transport vessel MV Treasure will transport it to Yokosuka, Japan.PHOTO: US NAVY

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain departed from Changi Naval Base yesterday, more than six weeks after it collided with an oil tanker in Singapore waters.

In an update, the US 7th Fleet said yesterday that the warship will meet heavy-lift transport vessel MV Treasure in the next few days.

The John S. McCain will be towed to deep water, where the heavy-lift vessel will lower itself, secure the ship on a platform and then rise back up out of the water.

After the process of loading the ship is complete, MV Treasure will transport the destroyer to Yokosuka, Japan, for repair works.

In the weeks prior to leaving Singapore, crew members, technicians and divers prepared the ship for the journey by conducting damage assessments and placing key systems in lay-up maintenance, the US Navy said.

A patch was also installed over damaged sections of the hull to restore watertight integrity, it added.

The warship was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC in the Singapore Strait on Aug 21.

The collision - the fourth incident in Asia involving a US warship this year - claimed the lives of 10 US sailors and has raised questions about the US Navy's operations and procedures.

In an update last week, Singapore's Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB), which is investigating the incident, said it is looking into all circumstances leading up to the collision.

The full findings of Singapore's investigations will be made public once it is ready - a process that typically takes up to 12 months.

TSIB is a unit within the Ministry of Transport which investigates air and sea accidents.

Karamjit Kaur

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'US warship heads to Japan for repairs'. Print Edition | Subscribe