PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Work will soon begin to deepen the channel that leads into Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula.
The Commission on Marine Resources signed off on allowing Ingalls to dredge the channel to a depth of 78 feet, 4 feet. deeper than the current permit allows.
The deeper channel will improve access for all the vessels built at Ingalls. The improvement is especially needed to accommodate the arrival of the USS Fitzgerald. The massive ship was damaged in a collision with a Philippine container ship in June off the coast of Japan, killing seven soldiers.
The USS Fitzgerald is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. It was built at Bath Iron Works in Maine between 1993-1995.
Ingalls builds the same class of ship for the Navy. When selecting Ingalls for the repairs, Naval Sea Systems Command said only a shipyard that builds destroyers can repair the damage.
Ingalls also has a successful record of repairing damaged Navy vessels. The shipbuilders in Pascagoula repaired the USS Cole which was damaged in a terrorist attack in Aden, Yemen on October 12, 2001.