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Navy Pays Texas Ship Breaker a Penny to Dismantle Carrier Ranger

USS Ranger (CV-61). US Navy Photo

USS Ranger (CV-61). US Navy Photo

The Navy has paid a Texas ship breaker $0.01 to transport and dismantle the third American super carrier — Ranger (CV-61), according to a Monday statement from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

The letting of the contract follows an October decision from the Navy to not donate the ship to the USS Ranger Foundation. The foundation had planned to moor the ship in Oregon on the Columbia River near Portland and create a museum.

“After eight years on donation hold, the USS Ranger Foundation was unable to raise the necessary funds to convert the ship into a museum or to overcome the physical obstacles of transporting her up the Columbia River to Fairfview, Oregon,” read the statement from NAVSEA.
“While there are many veterans with strong desires that the Navy not scrap the ship they served on, there were no states, municipalities or non-profit organizations with a viable plan seeking to save the ship. The Navy cannot donate a vessel unless the application fully meets the Navy’s minimum requirements for donation, and cannot retain inactive ships indefinitely.”

The hull will now be towed from the Navy’s inactive ships maintenance facility in Bremerton, Wash. to International Shipbreaking’s dismantling facility in Brownsville, Texas. The ship will depart Bremerton in January or February and travel around the tip of South America.

NAVSEA took pains to explain the financial arrangement with the company to USNI News on Monday. The $0.01 fee pays for the transportation and dismantling of Ranger by the company. After covering the cost of transportation, International Shipbreaking retains the profits from selling the scrap.

Ranger is one of four 60,000-ton Forestall-class carriers, known as the first so-called super carriers, and was in commission from 1957 to 1993.

The ship served extensively in the Vietnam War and later in Operation Desert Storm.

The following is the complete Dec. 22, 2014 statement from NAVSEA.

Navy Awards Contract for Ranger Dismantling

From: Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communication

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Navy awarded a contract for the towing and dismantling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier Ranger (CV 61) to International Shipbreaking Ltd.

Under the contract, the company will be paid $0.01. The price reflects the net price proposed by International Shipbreaking, which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling. This is not a sales contract, it is a procurement contract. $0.01 is the lowest price the Navy could possibly have paid the contractor for towing and dismantling the ship.

The ship will be towed from the Navy’s inactive ships maintenance facility in Bremerton, Washington, to International Shipbreaking Ltd.’s ship dismantling facility in Brownsville, Texas for complete dismantling and recycling.

The ship is expected to depart Bremerton via tow in January or February 2015, and arrive in Brownsville after four to five months. The ship is too large for passage through the Panama Canal and must be towed around South America.

Ranger was the third Forrestal class aircraft carrier to be built. The ship was laid down Aug. 2, 1954, by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on Aug. 10, 1957. Ranger was the only ship of the Forrestal class to spend its entire career in the Pacific. The ship made a total of 22 Western Pacific deployments, was an active participant in the Vietnam War, and was the only West Coast-based carrier to deploy in support of Operation Desert Storm.

Ranger was decommissioned July 10, 1993, after more than 35 years of service. It served as a retention asset for potential future reactivation until stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on March 8, 2004, and redesigned for donation. After eight years on donation hold, the USS Ranger Foundation was unable to raise the necessary funds to convert the ship into a museum or to overcome the physical obstacles of transporting her up the Columbia River to Fairfview, Oregon. As a result, the Ranger was removed from the list of ships available for dismantling and designated for dismantling.

While there are many veterans with strong desires that the Navy not scrap the ship they served on, there were no states, municipalities or non-profit organizations with a viable plan seeking to save the ship. The Navy cannot donate a vessel unless the application fully meets the Navy’s minimum requirements for donation, and cannot retain inactive ships indefinitely.

  • Rob C.

    Thats a darn shame! You’d think the Navy would help veterans willing to take care of artifact like the USS Ranger. They sell the ship for a penny.

    • Rob, technically the Texas outfit paid the Navy a penny to tow and dismantle the ship.

      • MoWanchuk

        Actually the Navy has paid a penny to have the Ranger taken off its hands, just as they did with the Forestall and Saratoga. From the first line of this article, “The Navy has paid a Texas ship breaker $0.01 to transport and dismantle the third American super carrier”, and from the NAVSEA statement, “The Navy has paid a penny to have the Ranger taken off its hands, just as they did with the Forrestall and Saratoga. From the first line of thie article, “The Navy has paid a Texas ship breaker $0.01 to transport and dismantle the third American super carrier”, and from the NAVSEA”.

        • Secundius

          @ MoWanchuk.

          Look at how much it’s going to cost the Texas company to move her from Oregon to Texas. I’d be surprised if the Texas company, even “breaks-even” on the venture…

          • Marcd30319

            Secundus, it can be assumed that the company will be able to resale the high-quality steel, and that is its potential profit margin. Otherwise, why would they even accept a bid?

          • Secundius

            @ Marced30319.

            Like most “bidding” contract’s, it’s sight unseen. Your buying it “as is”. You don’t get a tour of the ship before making a bid. And if the bid was only $0.01 USD., that mean there were no other interested parties. And minimally the Ranger has be exposed to salt water corrosion since 29 September 1956. And possibly since the “keel” was laid in 2 August 1954. That’s a lot of Salt Water exposure. And corrosion resistant paints of the 1950’s, are far less advanced then paints of 2014. I’m pretty sure they treat the hulls of 2014, before they paint them…

    • bee bop

      Navy veterans from the era of the Forrestal Class Carriers are too old to maintain anything. Those are huge ships. Maybe just drag them up on the land and turn them into buzzards’ roosts.

      • muzzleloader

        A number of years ago there was interest in obtaining the U.S.S. John F Kennedy as a museum ship in Jacksonville. The interest waned when it was realized what a money pit and money loser it would be.
        The Yorktown exhibit in Charlestown S.C. has been struggling for years. A ship the size of a CV is not going to be maintained by a group of former crewmen unless they are ship company strength and have the resources they need, which would be formidable.

      • John Lee

        And yet WWII vets still volunteer on some of the older museum ships albeit less and less every year. There would still be a fair amount of able bodies vets to help her the main problem like everything is money and that’s where the Oregon group supposedly failed (i’ve heard conflicting reports on that). There’s still the JFK and Kitty Hawk that might make it to museum status but the Forrestals won’t share the same luxury.

      • bee bop

        To all the goat tail waggers and cud chewers, four football fields being looked after with a foxtail and a paint brush ain’t gonna get it done. Go tour the Midway at San Diego and consider the commitment there along with the Yorktown at Charleston. I was aboard the Ranger in early ’66 in the South China Sea and about 9 mos. later aboard the Saratoga in Mayport at Christmas, ’66. When “liberty call” went down it was a long hustle to the Quarterdeck from anywhere. Forrestal, Saratoga, Ranger, Independence…Kitty Hawk, Constellation, and America …Kennedy(its own class). Thank you Wikipedia.

  • Herb Loper

    Lets keep it positive. We have not heard any truth to this post.

    • Marcd30319

      Mixed message, Herb.
      Exhorting everyone to be positive while suggeting there has been any truth posted at this message board seems to suggest that.

      • Gentlemen, we included the statement from NAVSEA at the bottom of the post on the contract. Since the DoD doesn’t post contract awards less than $6.5 million, the NAVSEA announcement is the only official word on Ranger available at the moment.

        • johnbull

          Not every ship can be saved as a museum. The hard truth is that every vessel has lot of sentimental value to its former crew members, but that alone does not make it good for a museum. The fate of most ships is the scrapyard. Some should be preserved as museums, but there’s got to be a major, major source of funding to restore it to display appearance, and then after that to maintain it in that condition. The navy’s not too keen on its former fighting ships being left to rust and deteriorate as museums because there’s not the funding to do regular painting, maintenance, and periodic dry docking.

  • Marcd30319

    “so-called super carriers”
    There is nothing “so-called”

    • Secundius

      @ Marced30319.

      Well, they were “Super” at the time of there commissioning, back in 1955… I guess the same could be said of the ESSEX class in 1942 and the MIDWAY class in 1945, too…

      • Marcd30319

        Except the Essex class was never called “supercarrier, ” Secundus. The Wikipedia article on supercarriers suggest any carrier displaing over 70,000 ton is a supercarrier, which is double the size of a Essex-class carrier.

        The term “supercarrier” was expressly coined in conjunction with the USS United States CVA-58 when it was approved for construction. Following her cancellation, the term was used for the USS Forrestal CVA-59 and every big-deck aircraft carrier built by the US Navy.

        Another thing that set supercarriers over th earlier Essex and Midway classes wat that the Forrestal was built form the keel up to handle nuclear weapons, including their storage and assembly. The earlier carriers had to eb extensively modified.

        In any case, the first true supercarrier was Forestal and her sister-ships, including the Ranger CVA-61.

        • Secundius

          @ Marcd30319.

          There’s nothing “super” about Gerald Rudolph “Jerry” Ford, Jr. class Large Aircraft Carrier either. Now build a Uber Aircraft Carrier 1,000-meters long and able to carry ~320 aircraft comfortably. And still be able to sustain ~28-knots, the you might have something to “crow” about.

          • Marcd30319

            Who is crowing, Secundius?

            I merely stated that every U.S. big-deck carrier laid down after World War Two has been referred to as a “supercarrier” in the media, such as a January 1949 Popular Science article on the USS United States which called that ship a supercarrier.

            The U.S. Navy itself uses the term “supercarrier” even in its own official documentation, such as a NAVSEA environmental study regarding the dismantling of the ex-USS Constellation fated June 2013

            Regarding how “super” the upcoming Ford-class supercarriers are, no less than the current CNO, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, was called CVN-78 a “truly a technological marvel.”

            Given its electro-magnetic catapults and arresting gear, integrated phased radar systems, improved flight deck layout, and nuclear reactor plany providing fout times the electrical output, that certainly qualifies as being “super.”

            Your hypotetical 1,000-meter-long uber-carriers sounds interesting, but what graving dock exists anywhere to service such a vessel?

            Resorting to hyperbole is not an effectual way to put forward an argument, Secundius.

          • Secundius

            @ Marced30319.

            As far a the Ford class Large Aircraft Carrie, it may be a Technical Wonder. But it hasn’t seen action yet. As far a the Uber Aircraft Carrier, you’ll probably going to have to “dock” them like you would, as if they were “LNG” ships…

          • Marcd30319

            As far a the Ford class Large Aircraft Carrie, it may be a Technical Wonder. But it hasn’t seen action yet.

            Well, since the Ford is still fitting out at Newport News, your observation is a non sequitur.
            According to the U.S. Navy, it is anticipated that Ford-class can generate at least a quarter more combat sorties over a given time frame that Nimitz-class supercarriers. We will see when CVN-78 makes its first deployment in circa 2020.
            I think you missed understood me when as

          • Secundius

            @ Marced30319.

            I haven’t been current on the progress of Gerald Ford class Large Aircraft Carrier. I thought by now it was doing “sea trials”…

          • Marcd30319

            Secundius, you usually are up-to-speed on current events, so I am suprised.

            The Ford‘s entire hull was completed and structural sound, and she was floated out (”launched”) of her graving dock at Newport News on 9 November 2013, almost exactly four years after her keel was laid down.

            Gerald R. Ford is currently fitting out, and in fact, she is docked next to the Enterprise, an rather interesting vision of 50 years of supercarrier history.

            Google it for yourself — it’s quite a sight!

          • Secundius

            @ Marced30319.

            Not this time around, between retirement benefit, failing health, health care cost, and other distractions (Congress). I’ve kind of preoccupied…

  • bee bop

    In the old days, exchange of “one dollar” was considered sufficient legal tender to secure a contract. One penny to scrap an aircraft carrier is not legally binding by precedent. During the three Republican administrations following Woodrow Wilson, there had been a desire to bring into government the high powered and talented executives of major corporations to secure a more productive and efficient bureaucracy for the American people. In consideration for their personal commitment to that service, and the fact that great wealth overshadowed any government salary, each of the appointed individuals agreed to accept no more than “one dollar,” for their services, Thus, they became the “dollar a year men.” Its written in the history.

  • Herb Loper

    The Save Ranger Team in Long Beach California is still working hard for the save. Hornet was saved while en-route. S.O.S. “SAVE RANGER” Long
    Beach, CA RESCUE TEAM is our FB page if anyone wants to join the
    cause. Never Give Up!!

  • Pingback: Navy Ships To Be Decommissioned. - Page 10()

  • Michael Kish

    Well, considering the 8 or 9 billion dollars the Navy spent on Submarines to protect her, she’s worth it.

  • Rafael Ranario

    Give it to the philippines

  • old guy

    I(t’s a shame to see these perfectly capable ships allowed to degenerate and, eventually be destroyed rather than upgraded, just to satisfy an avaricious Congress and shipbuilding industry, looking for campaign donations and easy, non-competitive, profit, respectively.

  • Semilogical

    The Saratoga had the same fate. Crew members, and others, raised nearly $4,000,000 to convert her to a museum. Apparently the Forrrstal class super carriers have no sentemental value to the Democratic lead country.

    Its a shame to throw away useful ships in this day and age.

    • Secundius

      @ Semilogical.

      I don’t think “sentimental value” was the issue. The issue was, nobody could agree where to put the ship. And if your towing from the East Coast to the West Coast, your talking about a minimum of an 15,000-nm. trip. Because the ship is too big to go through the Panama Canal. And $4-million dollars only gets you so far…

  • howard_t

    I remember two looks at USS Ranger; the first from USS Midway when Midway’s battle group and Ranger’s battle group — coming from or going to the Indian Ocean — came together as each refueled somewhere in WesPac. The second was of Ranger standing forlorn in the yards at Bremerton, like a prisoner on death row awaiting word from the governor on a stay of execution. It’s sad to hear of her demise at the hands of the breakers, but like any fragile old lady resting in the old folks home, her time has come. Warships preserved as museums are fine, but there must be some sense to locating them. Historic and active Navy ports make sense; other locations do not. The ship ought to have some relationship with the port. USS Midway and San Diego go well together. I don’t know how a place like Fairview, Oregon, the US Navy, and USS Ranger fit together. Sad as her ending may be, it was time for Ranger to go.

  • Ken82858 .

    At least part of the USS Ranger will live on. Her anchors were removed and installed on the USS Ronald Reagan.

  • Secundius

    Everybody is talking about AFloat Forward Staging Bases, and building ship’s or converting ship’s to perform this task. Why not convert Old Aircraft Carrier’s to do the same task. A floating “away garrison” so to speak, utilize smaller LCS classes or PBM classes and SSK’s that can operated independently for up to 1,500nm to 2,000nm radius from the “Parent Craft/Tender”…

  • seahorse

    rangers cv 61 not done yet new plan civil defence / shelter title 10 needs a repair job
    got work for all of them could use your help at [email protected]

  • seahorse

    hey i sent the navy 100 us cash for the ranger then pullit out of there but they sent the cash back so you not corect the deals rigged