The US Navy's USS Fitzgerald guided-missile destroyer that was damaged in a deadly collision with a cargo ship nearly three years ago has undergone repairs and will soon begin testing at sea.
On June 17, 2017, the warship collided with MV ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship, about 80 nautical miles southwest of Tokyo, Japan. Seven sailors were killed in the incident.
"Since we launched the ship this past April our efforts have focused on restoring ship systems, conducting pier side tests and readying the ship for sea," said Rear Adm. Tom Anderson, NAVSEA director Surface Ship Maintenance and Modernization and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center.
The destroyer will now carry out a series of demonstrations at sea that will test the ship's navigation, electrical, combat, communications and propulsions systems.
"The underway reflects nearly two years' worth of effort in restoring and modernizing one of the Navy's most capable warships after it was damaged during a collision in 2017 that claimed the lives of seven Sailors," a Naval Sea Systems Command news release states.
Once the evaluations are done, the destroyer will head back to the shipyard for more training and crew certifications. The Fitzgerald is scheduled to return to the fleet in the spring.
"We are excited to take the next step to get Fitzgerald back out to sea where the ship belongs," Cmdr. Scott Wilbur, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, said in a statement. "My crew is looking forward to moving onboard the ship and continuing our training to ensure we are ready to return to the fleet."