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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.

Categories: Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.