Bonhomme Richard Wreck Reaches Panama; Texas Shipbreaker Buys Hull for $3.66M

May 5, 2021 6:49 PM - Updated: May 6, 2021 9:06 AM
Former Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) towed from Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on April 15, 2021.

This post has been updated to include a copy of the contract with International Shipbreaking LTD.

The hull of the former amphibious warship Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) is approaching the Panama Canal on the way to a Texas shipbreaker for dismantling, USNI News has learned.

The day after a ceremonial decommissioning at Naval Station San Diego, Calif., the hull was towed into the Pacific, bound for Brownsville, Texas on the Gulf Coast just North of the border with Mexico.

International Shipbreaking LTD., took possession of the remains of the ship for $3.66 million, while the Navy would harvest components from the hull that were undamaged by last year’s fire at the pier in San Diego, according to a copy of the contract obtained on Wednesday by USNI News.

USNI News understands the ship’s propulsion system was largely undamaged from the effects of the four-day fires and would be part of the so-called harvested equipment from the hull.

The Brownsville company has scrapped several large U.S. Navy ships, including the former carrier USS Constellation (CV-64).

The hull is currently under tow off the coast of Panama City, waiting to transit north through the canal, according to data from Marine Traffic.

Ordinarily, a Wasp-class amphibious warship is too large to transit the canal, however during its preparation for towing from San Diego, the aircraft elevators and island were removed to fit through the locks of the canal.

The 40,000-ton Bonhomme Richard was in the midst of a $250 million renovation to upgrade the 22-year-old ship when a fire broke out on July 12 and burned for four days.

The extent of the damage prompted the Navy to decommission the ship rather than attempt repairs.

Several investigations into the incident are still ongoing.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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