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USS Fitzgerald moves to dry dock for evaluation

By
Ed Adamczyk
Tugboats assist the USS Fitzgerald as it moves toward dry dock in Yokosuka on Tuesday to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17 collision with a merchant vessel. Photo by MC1 Peter Burghart/U.S. Navy/UPI
Tugboats assist the USS Fitzgerald as it moves toward dry dock in Yokosuka on Tuesday to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17 collision with a merchant vessel. Photo by MC1 Peter Burghart/U.S. Navy/UPI | License Photo

July 12 (UPI) -- The destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged in a June 17 collision with a cargo ship, entered a dry dock in Yokosuka, Japan, for evaluation, the Navy said.

Seven U.S. sailors died in the collision between the Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged cargo ship 64 miles south of Yokosuka Naval Base.

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Cmdr. Bryce Benson, captain of the Navy ship, was injured in the collision when his cabin was crushed by the cargo ship's impact. He was rescued while hanging from the side of his ship, and was temporarily relieved of command Tuesday until he recovers from his unidentified injuries.

The Fitzgerald arrived at the Yokosuka naval base within hours after the collision, with a 12-by-17-foot hole ripped in its starboard side below the waterline. The impact crushed the ship's superstructure, twisted its hull and ruined tens of millions of dollars of electrical equipment aboard, the U.S. Naval Institute reported Wednesday.

Dry dock status, in which the ship is pulled completely from the water, will allow more complete evaluation of the extent of damage. The Navy will then determine if the ship should be repaired in Japan or in the United States.

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