After a nine-day suspension, Pearl Harbor memorial may reopen Friday
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — After a nine-day suspension, tours are likely to resume at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Friday.
The site was closed May 27 after a dock at the memorial that sits atop the sunken World War II battleship was damaged in an accident involving tugboats and a 69,000-ton hospital ship.
Repairs were nearly complete Thursday and were expected to be finished by Friday morning, according to a statement from the U.S. Navy Region Hawaii on its Facebook page. The Navy coordinated the statement with the National Park Service, which operates the memorial.
“The National Park Service deeply appreciates the dedicated efforts of the US Navy and others to get this repair done as quickly and safely as possible,” Paul DePrey, the park service’s memorial superintendent, said in a statement.
The damage that closed the site to visitors occurred when tugboats were “assisting” the USNS Mercy, an 894-foot-long, 69,000-ton hospital ship, inside the harbor, the U.S. Navy Region Hawaii said.
“A small area of concrete was damaged where the dock’s ramp joined the Memorial. The dock’s ramps and railings were also damaged.”
The Navy is investigating the accident.
The USS Arizona was sunk on December 7, 1941, during Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II. The remains of many of the 1,177 U.S. military personnel who died aboard the Arizona are still inside the wreck. It was the greatest loss of life ever in an attack on a U.S. warship, the park service says.
The memorial was dedicated in 1962 and is part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
Visitor demand could be high Friday, since the site has not received visitors since May 26, the Navy said.
Tours are scheduled every 15 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are 4,350 tickets available per day. Some can be booked up to two months in advance, others are released the day before, and some are held for the day of the tours.