The USS Constellation has reached its final port.
The Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier was delivered Friday, Jan. 16, to International Shipbreaking Ltd., of Brownsville, Texas, by the oceangoing tug Corbin Foss, which began the 16,000-nautical-mile journey from Bremerton, Wash., on Aug. 8.
“It took about as long as expected. We encountered a lot of weather,” said Drew Arenth, manager of business development and planning for Foss Maritime, Seattle, who was in Texas port for the arrival.
They encountered especially rough weather before the Strait of Magellan, so they lost a few days turning away from a storm. In the strait itself in early November, they had five tugboats total on the tow, Arenth said.
Earlier, off Antofagasta, Chile, a four-man U.S. Navy salvage team was called in because ballast shifted and the 61,000-dwt carrier was listing to port. The problem was resolved, according to a blog Foss maintained during the trip.
Members of the eight-person crew were changed throughout the voyage -- the longest trip a Foss tug has made, Arenth said. Refueling procedures and speed varied depending on conditions. Port calls included Long Beach, Calif., Balboa, Panama, Valparaiso, Chile, Montevideo, Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The 150’x40’x20’ tug, which is powered by two ALCO 16-251F diesels that produce 4,100 hp each at 900 rpm, headed to Lake Charles, La., where she was to pick up a barge and sail back to Washington via the Panama Canal for a quick 30-day trip.
The carrier job was “a little bit of an opportunity for us to show what we know how to do,” Arenth said. “It shows our global reach.”
For the Constellation, commissioned in 1961 and decommissioned in 2003, it was the end of the line. The Navy will pay International Shipbreaking $3 million and continue to own the vessel during the dismantling. “The contractor takes ownership of the scrap metal as it is produced and sells the scrap to offset its cost of operations,” the service said.
The job will take about two years and yield about 60,000 tons of material, Bob Berry, vice president of International Shipbreaking, earlier told WorkBoat..
Elsewhere at Brownsville scrappers, the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was at All Star Metals and the USS Saratoga at ESCO Marine.