USS Independence Decommissioned in Brownsville

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USS Independence Decommissioned in Brownsville

Carrier dismantlement to construct new vessels

The USS Independence arrived in the Port of Brownsville June 1, completing her final voyage. The decommissioned aircraft carrier will be dismantled by International Shipbreaking Ltd.

The carrier will undergo a dismantling and recycling process, expected to take around a year and a half to complete. The process will generate about 160 jobs locally, says Robert Berry, vice president of ISL.

“We recognize that this is a sentimental time for many. Some may view this as an ending, for others it’s a new beginning,” says John Wood, Brownsville Navigation District chairman. “In her new role, the USS Independence will provide a hopeful future for hundreds of local men and women. Through the jobs created through her repurposing, she will live on, and continue to serve.”

ISL won the Navy bid to recycle the 60,000-ton vessel, the last of the Forrestal-class of “supercarriers.” This is the third vessel of its kind the company will recycle. ISL lifted the last piece of the former USS Constellation out of the water on May 10, making way for the arrival of the USS Independence.

The Independence will produce about 51,000 tons of copper, brass, steel, armored plate and other metals. Berry said that the scrap metal will end up in steel mills in Mexico and other parts of the world. However, the armored plate, a high-end type of hardened steel, will be sent to the East Coast.

“Between 14,000 to 19,000 tons of armored plate will all go to Pennsylvania. That steel will be melted down and made into armor for the next vessel the Navy will build,” added Berry.

The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Independence receives a tow through the Brownsville Ship Channel June 1, on her way to International Shipbreaking Ltd's yard at the Port of Brownsville.
The USS Independence receives a tow through the Brownsville Ship Channel June 1 on her way to International Shipbreaking Ltd’s yard at the Port of Brownsville. (photo Port of Brownsville)

 

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