USS Fitzgerald begins first at-sea testing since 2017 collision

Photo: US Navy

The US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald is currently underway to conduct comprehensive at-sea testing for the first time since the vessel completed undergoing extensive repairs in the wake of a collision that killed seven of its embarked crew.

At approximately 06:30 local time on Monday, February 3, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer departed Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to conduct a series of demonstrations to evaluate that its onboard systems meet or exceed navy performance specifications. Among the systems that will be tested are navigation, damage control, mechanical and electrical systems, combat systems, communications, and propulsion.

Upon Fitzgerald‘s return to the shipyard, crew training and certifications will commence as final work items are completed in support of the ship’s sail-away later this spring.

Fitzgerald had sustained significant damage after it collided with the Philippine-flagged containership ACX Crystal in Japanese waters on June 17, 2017. Seven of the destroyer’s crew were killed while three others, including the captain, were injured.

A subsequent investigation by the US Navy found that the incident could have been avoided had Fitzgerald‘s crew been adhering to proper watchstanding procedures prior to the collision.

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