The decommissioned aircraft carrier, USS Independence has just passed by Costa Rica on its final mission, from Bremerton and onward to Brownsville, Texas.
This is the first leg of a long 16,000 mile journey that will take the 60,000-ton super carrier around the tip of South America, transiting the Strait of Magellan and eventually into EMR Group’s International Shipbreaking Ltd. yard in Brownsville, Texas.
USS Independence left on her final journey on Saturday, March 11th from the Kitsap Naval Base in Bremerton, Washington to Brownsville, Texas and is expected to take just under three months.
The carrier is being towed by a tug named the Dino Chouest and the journey will involve navigating down the West coast
of the Americas and then back up the East coast of South America. She follows two of her fellow Navy vessels to the same site in Brownsville – the USS Constellation and the USS Ranger (of Top Gun fame).
The Brownsville site is a metal recycling yard operated by International Shipbreaking Ltd., part of the EMR Group. The company won the Navy bid to recycle the 60,000-ton vessel, the last of the Forrestal-class of “supercarriers.”
Chris Green, the senior manager of the Brownsville site commented: “The scale of the logistical and towing preparation to set the USS Independence on her final voyage has been enormous. Preparations at the Brownsville yard are complete and the team is ready in anticipation for her arrival.
“We take great pride in having been awarded another US Navy ship recycling contract. It’s testament to our parent company EMR’s investment in the International Shipbreaking Ltd. facilities that we are able to complete large scale ship recycling contracts in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”
The arrival of the USS Independence in Brownsville, likely to be in early June will be celebrated with a beach-side event.