By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (July 26, 2016) – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) completed a docking evolution for Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) service yacht JS Hashidate (ASY 91).
Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s port operations and SRF-JRMC’s docking team – carpenter shop, lifting and handling division, dock maintenance and forklift operations section, dive locker, service shop, and docking office – cooperated in effort to safely accomplish the dry-docking.
The evolution was the third time Hashidate has drydocked at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s facilities.
“We appreciate our partnership with SRF-JRMC,” said Hashidate’s captain, Lt. Akihiko Urago. “SRF-JRMC and [Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s] port operations team support brought the vessel into dry dock safely this time as well.”
First of its new class, Hashidate is utilized for welcoming important foreign personnel and is also equipped with medical equipment to support disaster relief activities. Until the arrival of Hashidate, Japanese service yachts were decommissioned battleships. The predecessor of Hashidate was JS Hiyodori (ASY 92), the 8th Mizutori-class submarine chaser built in 1966. Hiyodori was disarmed and made into a service yacht in 1987, complete with deck extension. Hashidate was built to replace the deteriorating service yacht.
“The vessel has two yearly dry-docking periods for periodical inspection, intermediate repair, cleaning and painting,” said JMSDF technical officer Akio Watanabe from the Yokosuka Repair and Supply Facility dock division. “Our project officer [Takashi Kudo] discusses [closely] with the SRF-JRMC team, including their docking master [Masaki Fukuda] before docking.”
“I am excited about this evolution,” said Taiki Ishiwata a dock equipment mechanic from SRF-JRMC’s dock maintenance and forklift operation section. “I began working at the command this past July. Even though I worked as a pipefitter in the private sector, everything about dry-docking is new to me.”
“It was a perfect day for docking,” said Docking Officer Lt. David Reinhardt. “Very light winds, not too hot, not raining – which is good. [We had good] communication with the pilot and a good briefing. As always, we are looking for ways to improve. We try to learn something from this and make ourselves better for the next time.”
The 400-ton class yacht is named after Amanohashidate in Kyoto prefecture, one of Japan’s three most picturesque sights called the Three Views of Japan (Nihon Sankei). The pine-clad sandbar connects two opposing sides of Miyazu bay, and the ship’s name represents a wish for the vessel to become a bridge between Japan and other countries.