The USS John S. McCain left Japan for the first time since a fatal crash in which ten American sailors fell dead.
The destroyer had his first test runs after having undergone a two-year repair, following a collision with the Liberian flag oil tanker Alnic MC off the coast of Singapore.
A hole was torn in the warship below the water line that led to the flooding of crew rooms, machines and communication rooms, killing ten sailors on August 21, 2017.
About six weeks after the accident, the McCain was taken to his home port of Yokosuka, Japan, to board the heavy transport ship for repairs, which cost an estimated $ 230 million.
The USS John S. McCain destroyer moored in a dock at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan in June of this year
The damage to the US Navy-led missile destroyer USS John S. McCain after a collision in the waters of Singapore in 2017
How the USS John S. McCain tragedy unfolded
USS John S. McCain – a US warship – was involved on 21 August 2017 in a collision with the Liberian flag tanker Alnic MC off the coast of Singapore and Malaysia, east of the Strait of Malacca.
The collision caused the tanker to tear through the hull, creating a cut that submerged crew sites and machines and communication rooms.
Ten American sailors died in the disaster, including Kenneth Smith, 22, Logan Palmer, 23, John Hoagland III, 20, Dustin Doyon, 26, Jacob Drake, 21, Timothy Eckels Jr., 23, Kevin Bushell, 26, Abraham Lopez, 39 , Nathan Findley, 31 and Corey Ingram, 28.
Four wounded sailors were medically evacuated to a hospital in Singapore with non-life threatening injuries.
Immediately after the incident, the US Navy reports suggested a tired bridge crew, poor communication among crew members, and busy shipping lanes as the most likely cause of the accident.
Yesterday, the guided rocket ship left Yokosuka Pier around 10.15 am with families of sailors working on the ship watching.
Commander Ryan T. Easterday, commander of USS John S. McCain, told the Portland Press Herald: & # 39; This entire crew is eager to get back on the sea, and that is clearly evident from the efforts they have made over the past two years to bring the ship back into combat, and the energy they have have invested in the preparation for the rigors of operations at sea.
& # 39; I am extremely proud of them as we take the ship to the sea and return to the operating fleet more than ever to support security and stability throughout the region. & # 39;
At the time of the accident, the American destroyer was en route to a routine harbor visit in Singapore after performing a sensitive freedom of navigation by sailing near one of the artificial islands of China in the South China Sea.
A multinational search and rescue operation involving Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the US was started to find the missing sailors.
After the collision, the McCain sailed on its own and headed for the port at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.
Abraham Lopez, 39, Nathan Findley, 31, Corey George Ingram, 28, Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, and John Henry Hoagland III, 20, all died in the accident.
The commander of the 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin of the Navy was fired not long after the crash, after a series of accidents in the same year that raised questions about the activities of the fleet.
The USS John McCain left Yokosuka Pier yesterday morning after two years of repairs were finally completed
Families of sailors and workers who helped get the destroyer started watching as he embarked on the first sea trials
The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain with a hole on the left port side after an oil tanker collision, outside the Changi naval base in Singapore on August 21, 2017
Just two months earlier, the USS Fitzgerald crashed into a Filipino cargo ship and drowned seven crew members on board.
The resignation of the three-star admiral was a rare resignation of a senior officer for operational reasons.
The Alnic MC is an oil and chemical tanker that is 600 feet long and has a gross tonnage of 30,000 – more than three times larger than the McCain, which is 505 feet long and only 8,300 tons.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, naval reports suggested a tired bridge crew, poor communication between crew members, and busy shipping lanes as the most likely cause of the accident.
An unnamed naval officer told CNN the ship lost steering control shortly before the accident, but it was unclear why the crew could not use the ship's backup steering systems & # 39 ;.
Now that the millions of repairs have been completed, the McCain will undergo heavy sea trials.
Sea trials are a marine term for testing systems at sea, usually about a week, and are required for every ship that returns to the sea after extensive repairs or maintenance.
The tests included, & # 39; navigation, damage control, mechanical and electrical systems, combat systems, communication and propulsion application & # 39 ;, according to a statement from the Navy issued yesterday.
The bodies of all ten sailors lost aboard the USS John S McCain last week have now been recovered. They are (clockwise from the top left): Kenneth Smith, 22; Logan Palmer, 23; John Hoagland III, 20; Dustin Doyon, 26; Jacob Drake, 21; Timothy Eckels Jr., 23; Kevin Bushell, 26; Abraham Lopez, 39; Nathan Findley, 31; Corey Ingram, 28
Senator John McCain speaks at a press conference at the US embassy in 2017. The senator in Arizona died in August 2018
The USS John S. McCain was involved in controversy when allegedly was kept away from President Trump when he visited US and Japanese troops in Yokosuka during a presidential tour of the country in May.
An alleged order from the White House saw the navy cover the ship's name with a canvas and sailors wore a uniform with the ship's logo on the day off so that the president would not see any references to the deceased senator.
Trump denied the allegations that he & # 39; was unaware of anything related to the ship & # 39 ;.
The daughter of the war hero in Vietnam, Meghan McCain, called Trump a & # 39; child & # 39; about the claims.
McCain was detained in a North Vietnamese prison for five and a half years and was tortured repeatedly.
The Arizona senator died of brain cancer in August last year at the age of 81. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush praised his funeral with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden and Mitt Romney.
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