The US Navy destroyer Fitzgerald, which lost seven of her crew and was seriously damaged in a collision off Yokosuka, Japan, on June 17 last year, arrived at Pascagoula, Mississippi, on Jan 19, on board the Dutch heavy lift ship Transshelf, 26,547gt, which had transported her from the Yokosuka Naval Base.
After being refloated, the Fitzgerald was to be taken to a pier space at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard. She will then be refitted and undergo the planned modernisation of her systems, the work taking until the first half of 2019.
On Jan 16, the US Navy announced that charges are to be brought against officers and other ranks over the collision involving the Fitzgerald and the container ship ACX Crystal, 29,060gt, and over the collision between the destroyer John S McCain and the oil/ chemical tanker Alnic MC, 50,760dwt, east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug 21 in which 10 US sailors died.
Admiral Frank Caldwell reviewed the actions taken by both crews. With regard to the Fitzgerald, he announced that courts-martial proceedings are being convened to review the evidence supporting possible criminal charges against Fitzgerald members, who include the Commanding Officer, two Lieutenants and one Lieutenant Junior Grade. The charges include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide.
With the John S McCain, one courtmartial hearing is being convened to review evidence supporting possible criminal charges against her Commanding Officer. The charges include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel, and negligent homicide. Also, one charge of dereliction of duty was preferred and is pending referral to a forum for a Chief Petty Officer.