The decommissioned aircraft carrier, USS Independence has passed Costa Rica on the first leg of its trip from Bremerton and onward to Brownsville, Texas.
The first leg of the long 16,000 mile journey that will take the 60,000-ton super carrier around the tip of South America (not the Panama Canal), transiting the Strait of Magellan and eventually into EMR Group’s International Shipbreaking yard in Brownsville, Texas.
USS Independence left on her final journey on March 11 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 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.”
“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,” said Chris Green, the senior manager of the Brownsville site. “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.”