The USS Stark, blown apart at midship by two Iraqi missiles 15 months ago, has been repaired at a Mississippi shipyard and will be returned to the Navy in two weeks.
The guided-missile frigate has been laid up at the yards of Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., since last November. It is scheduled for sea trials Aug. 29 and 30 and then final delivery to the Navy, said Lt. Barbara Kent, a Navy spokeswoman.Although the cost of repairs has not been tallied precisely, the U.S. government is preparing to submit a bill to Iraq for the damage. The Navy and Ingalls managed to hold the repair costs "under $90 million compared to an original repair estimate of $142 million," Kent said.
Iraq has accepted responsibility for the attack on the Stark, describing the May 17, 1987, incident as a case of mistaken identity. It has promised to compensate the United States and the relatives of the 37 sailors who died in the attack, although no money has changed hands to date.