Wednesday, October 28, 2009
bye bye then
The view from our portholes today was somewhat different. We watched the end of an era.
The USS Saipan, pictured in the foreground, is heading for her last berth, a shipbreakers' yard in Brownsville TX.
Here was my view of the action today:
First the ship gets pulled out of the berth. At 800-some feet, this is a heavy job.
The anchor has already been disconnected from the chain, and a short bight of chain is left to dangle just under the surface of the water.
An oceangoing tug (Michael McAllister, a 4100 h.p. somewhat vintage tug) attaches her towing wire to the anchor chain, and starts to heave against the flood tide.
A utility boat has already pulled the fenders off the dock, heading to the next job.
Finally, the tug begins to move the ship downriver, there to make the slow voyage to the ditch which will be the Saipan's last berth.
Eventually she will start to look like this, the ex- Cape Clear, or half of her, anyhow. The end is never dignified.