BREMERTON — One tugboat will tow the mammoth USS Constellation 16,000 miles from Bremerton to Texas.
The 140-foot seagoing tug Corbin Foss, though larger than its harbor cousins, is dwarfed by the 11,000-foot, 61,000-ton aircraft carrier. It’ll coax the old warship away from its home of 11 years, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard’s Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility, on Thursday and chug around the tip of South America to the Brownsville, Texas. There, at International Shipbreaking, the 54-year-old Connie will be scrapped.
The trip, at six knots, is expected to take more than four months and require six diesel fill-ups, said Drew Arenth, Foss Maritime’s manager of business development, planning and analysis. It’d be much quicker if the carrier could fit through the Panama Canal.
The Seattle-based company would like to get fuel delivered to the tug, but might have to leave the Constellation with assist boats while it goes ashore. The Corbin Foss’ eight-person crew will be switched out at Punta Arenas, Chile.
“I’m sure it will be very exciting,” Arenth said. “It’s a phenomenal job for Foss. It means a lot to our guys, anything that’s got the Navy involved. Everybody on the boat has an admiration for the sea and people at sea.”
In February, Foss brought the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal from Philadelphia to Brownsville to be dismantled by All Star Metals. That journey took just 16 days. A third carrier, the USS Sarasota, is awaiting a tow from Newport, R.I., to a third Brownsville dismantler, ESCO Marine, but is being delayed by peregrine falcons nesting onboard. The fledglings are expected to be ready to leave by mid-August.
Dismantling the Constellation will be the largest ship recycling job in United States history. It will take about two years and yield about 60,000 tons of materials, said Bob Berry, International Shipbreaking vice president.
The other two dismantling companies paid 1 cent for the ships and get the proceeds from the metal. Because of the long haul, the Navy is paying International Shipbreaking $3 million.
Now that recycling contracts have been awarded to each of the three companies, the Navy car award more contracts for scrapping non-nuclear-powered carriers over a five-year period with All Star, ESCO and International Shipbreaking competing for the work.
There are four left. The Kitty Hawk, Independence and Ranger in Bremerton, and the John F. Kennedy in Philadelphia. The Kitty Hawk is being kept in reserve and the John F. Kennedy is available for donation as a memorial or museum. The Independence and Ranger are designated for scrapping.
Source: kitsap sun. 2 August 2014