USS Arizona Memorial tours suspended after vessel damages dock

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Tours of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor have been suspended after a vessel damaged its floating dock Wednesday.

The dock was damaged while the Navy Hospital Ship USNS Mercy was underway, according to the National Park Service, in a statement on its website. “It is not safe for visitors to disembark at the USS Arizona Memorial,” it added,

Divers have reported no damage to the wreckage of the USS Arizona, located beneath the memorial. The Navy hopes to have the dock repaired by June 4.

The accident moved the dock about 10 feet toward the memorial, according to a statement released on Navy Region Hawaii’s Facebook page. A small area of concrete was also damaged where the dock’s ramp joined the Memorial, with the dock’s ramps and railings also damaged.

It is unclear whether the damage was caused by the USNS Mercy, a tugboat guiding the ship, or a wake of water caused by maneuvering. “That’s still being investigated, as to exactly what happened - our plan is to put out more information.” Bill Doughty, a spokesman for Navy Region Hawaii told “Our concern is to get the floating dock repaired as quickly as possible - people come from thousands of miles away to see the USS Arizona.”

Citing an unnamed woman whose husband witnessed the incident, reported Wednesday that USNS Mercy struck the dock.

National Park Service Spokeswoman Abby Wines told that modified tours are available while the memorial’s dock is being repaired. Visitors, she explained, can still take a boat to view the memorial from another part of Battleship row.

Opened in 1962, the Memorial straddles the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. The battleship sank during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 1941 with the loss of 1,102 lives.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers