USS Fitzgerald arrives in Mississippi for repairs following 2017 collision

Jan. 22 (UPI) — Naval Sea Systems Command awarded a contract last week for the continued repair of the USS Fitzgerald amid a U.S. government shutdown and pending court-martial for the ship’s former commanding officer .

The terms of the new contract between the Navy and Huntington Ingalls were announced Friday by the Department of Defense hours before the Senate failed to reach a deal on a bill to fund the government.

The contract is worth more than $125.1 million under a cost-plus-fixed-fee, which is a cost reimbursement agreement that alleviates some of the risk to the contractor by offsetting potential cost overruns. The new contract modifies a previous award to Huntington Ingalls.

The Arleigh Burke-class USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer assigned to the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, arrived in Pascagoula, Miss., Jan. 19, aboard heavy lift vessel MV Transshelf from Yokosuka, Japan.

The ship will undergo a complex emergent repair and restoration process throughout 2018. The work is expected to be completed in Jan. 2020.

More than $62.5 million has been obligated to Huntington Ingalls from fiscal 2018 Navy operations and maintenance, and other procurement funds, which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Defense Department officials said last week that contracts that have already been awarded, with funds allocated, do not have to be terminated or have stop work orders issued as a result of the government shutdown. A lapse in funding on current contracts would only occur if new requirements on a contract are needed because new funding would have to be approved.

Officials said, however, that contracts may be terminated or stopped completely during the government shutdown if personnel that oversee work on a contract have been furloughed.

“The department may continue to enter into new contracts, or place task orders under existing contracts, to obtain supplies and services necessary to carry out or support excepted activities even though there are no available appropriations,” Pentagon officials said in a contingency plan released early Friday in the event of a shutdown.

The modified contract also comes days after the Navy announced former Fitzgerald Cmdr. Bryce Benson will face court-martial charges that could include negligent homicide in the vessel’s collision with a container ship in Tokyo Bay last August that left seven U.S. sailors dead.

In November, the Navy concluded that the Fitzgerald’s collision with a commercial vessel was avoidable and the result of multiple human errors.


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