16:24 GMT23 June 2021
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    The bruised and beaten destroyer USS Fitzgerald will be traveling back home to the "land of the free" with the help of a heavy lift ship in order to undergo more repairs, the US Navy announced Tuesday.

    According to Cmdr. Clay Doss, a 7th Fleet spokesman, told Stars and Stripes that the destroyer will be towed states-side between mid-September and the end of October after its June 17 crash that led to the death of seven US sailors.

    Though it's unknown where the battered Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer will dock, Doss indicated officials chose to transport the vessel in order to free up space along the Yokosuka naval base for other 7th Fleet ships going under maintenance.

    "The main reason why the ship was not repaired [in Yokosuka] is because it would've tied up those resources and tied up the dry docks," he added. "We could do it [in Yokosuka]; it's just more cost effective and safer to go through heavy lift route."

    The cost to repair the Fitzgerald has been estimated at about $500 million, according to naval analysts speaking to USNI News.

    "Bringing a damaged ship back is a very complex task because you've got to make sure the ship is ready to go," Retired Vice Adm. Peter Daly, CEO of USNI, told UPI. "And then you have to decide which method, which mode you're going to use for it."

    "It's a very involved process because you first have to patch the ship [and] make sure it's structurally sound," Daly added.

    Within the last few years the only damaged ships that were transported via lifting were USS Cole and USS Samuel B. Roberts, UPI reported.

    While a small portion of the vessel's crew will travel with the ship, there has been no decision yet regarding the remaining sailors and their families.

    Still under investigation, the mid-June collision occurred after the Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal collided with one another.


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