Cmdr. Paul Rinn argued that his damaged USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) should be repaired in a Dubai shipyard so it could return home under its own power, but Navy leaders rejected the idea as impractical. Instead, they decided to bring the wounded frigate home atop one of the world’s most unusual vessels: the semi-submersible heavy-lift ship MV Mighty Servant 2.
Built in 1983, the 25,000-ton MS2 was created to haul huge and unwieldy loads around the world’s oceans. Its deck was larger than a soccer pitch, and its hull was honeycombed with ballast tanks. When the tanks took on water, the deck sank beneath the surface, allowing loads to be floated into position. When the tanks were pumped dry, the MS2 rose to shoulder its cargo.
On 27 June 1988, the Roberts was towed from Dubai and loaded aboard the MS2. For security’s sake, the rendezvous took place some 60 miles away from the harbor.