USS Cole returns to Mississippi shipyard for repairs

PASCAGOULA, Miss. - The USS Cole, with a gaping hole from terrorist bomb in Yemen that killed 17 sailors, returned Wednesday to the Mississippi shipyard where the $1 billion destroyer was built.

The Navy warship arrived in Pascagoula riding piggyback on a Norwegian-owned heavy-lift ship because of the damage to its port side. The Aegis-class destroyer was christened here in 1995 and built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Litton Industries Inc.

The Cole was in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12 when it was attacked.

A patch for the hull's ragged 40-foot by 40-foot hole will be welded in place before the Cole is taken from the transport ship, and weapons will be unloaded.

The Cole goes into dry dock for repairs next month. The work is expected to last about a year at a cost of $150 million to $170 million

When the Cole arrived, a large tarp covered its hole and sailors stood on the deck. At least 100 employees wearing hard hats worked alongside a huge crane that was pulling the transport ship to the dock.

American and Yemeni law enforcement authorities are still investigating the bombing, and the FBI has not reported reaching any conclusions. Yemen's prime minister has said at least three Yemenis suspected of belonging to an international terrorist network will go on trial next month in connection with the attack. ---

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