BATH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The first of those two Bath Iron Works-built ships that were damaged in collisions in Asia will be rebuilt in Mississippi.
The Navy announced Wednesday that the U.S.S. Fitzgerald will be rebuilt at the Huntington-Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi, not at Bath Iron Works.
The Fitzgerald was built at Bath, and BIW staff in Japan have been helping the Navy assess damage and repair. But a Navy press release says Ingalls was chosen because it's the only shipyard with the available space and time to rebuild the Fitzgerald, without disrupting other work.
There is no word yet on how much the work will cost. The Navy is currently arranging a special "heavy lift" ship to transport the crippled destroyer from Japan to the U.S.
Bath Iron Works has so far not commented, but Sen. Susan Collins says she is "very disappointed" with the Navy's decision. She said she believes BIW would be the logical place to rebuild the Fitzgerald. Collins said she had spoken to the Secretary of he Navy about the situation, and that she and Sen. Angus King are trying to get the Secretary to visit Bath soon to better understand the yard's capabilities.
BIW and Ingalls are the only two shipyards that build the Arleigh Burke DDG-51 class destroyers, and often compete for contracts. Bath is currently building several of those ships, as well as completing two of the larger Zumwalt-class destroyers.