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Repairs on track for re-opening of Arizona Memorial

    Tours on the memorial have been suspended indefinitely after a vessel struck and damaged the structure's dock Wednesday

The Navy said repairs are being completed to resume visitor access to the USS Arizona Memorial after the 894-foot hospital ship USNS Mercy caused damage to the memorial’s access dock May 27 in Pearl Harbor.

“Repairs are on track thanks to great teamwork” involving Navy divers, Navy and Air Force engineers, crane operators and shipyard workers, Navy Region Hawaii spokesman Bill Doughty said Tuesday in an e-mail.

Capt. Stan Keeve, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, previously said the Navy hoped to have repairs done by Wednesday so the memorial could be reopened Thursday.

“We intend to have repairs completed on time, and we will conduct a safety and structural review (Wednesday) in continued coordination with the National Park Service,” Doughty said.

The NPS, which oversees the Arizona Memorial, ultimately will decide when to reopen it, he said. An NPS spokeswoman could not be reached Tuesday.

The big hospital ship “may have” come into contact with the floating pier for the memorial over the sunken battleship USS Arizona as the Mercy was being maneuvered by two tugboats away from Hotel Pier and turned to head out to sea, the Navy said.

The memorial itself experienced “slight superficial damage” where the floating dock connects to it, according to the Navy. The service said “it appears that prop wash from the ship pushed the pier about 10 feet toward the memorial causing most of the damage to the access structure.”

The Navy removed the walkway to the Arizona Memorial and “immediately began repairing the above-water floating dock and access structure and evaluating the underwater mooring system of chains and concrete block anchors, which required realignment,” Doughty said.

Handrails also had to be replaced.

Military Sealift Command, which operates the Mercy, is leading a Navy investigation. The Coast Guard is conducting its own review. No cost estimate was available for the damage, the Navy said Tuesday.

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