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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Cancel the band: The USS George Washington will not make its first Yokosuka public appearance in August as planned, the Navy announced Tuesday.

"Ongoing repairs" will delay the aircraft carrier’s arrival "past August," a Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan release stated. A "transit plan" to Yokosuka "has not been finalized," it said. Navy officials did not give any specifics on when the ship would officially take its place as the Navy’s Forward-Deployed Naval Forces’ aircraft carrier.

The repairs, and consequent delay, stem from the May 22 fire aboard the George Washington while the ship was conducting an under way replenishment with the USS Crommelin in waters near South America.

The fire started in an air conditioning and refrigeration space and auxiliary boiler room and spread to 80 spaces. The damage was "primarily electric in nature," according to Navy reports. No sailors were seriously injured, though 23 suffered from heat stress and one had first-degree burns. Sailors fought the blaze for several hours. The cause of the fire has not been established.

The George Washington has been undergoing repairs, investigations and assessments in San Diego’s North Island since May 27, waylaying plans to swap personnel with the USS Kitty Hawk and participate in the large-scale international Rim of the Pacific exercise. Instead, Kitty Hawk, the 47-year-old aircraft carrier formerly stationed in Yokosuka, took the George Washington’s place in the exercise, which lasts through July in the waters near Hawaii. Kitty Hawk will then meet the George Washington in San Diego for the swap in August.

Afterward, Kitty Hawk will continue to Bremerton, Wash., for decommissioning.

Repairs to George Washington are scheduled to be finished in "late August" . But a timeline for the Pacific transit remains unknown.


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