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.

1 comment:

bigsoxfan said...

I quess it has appeared to no one that this particular class would be damn useful for duties other than assualt from the sea. Not that the LHs aren't particularly useful and well designed for assault over the beach. Nah, lets just scrap them and do without until we can come up with a way overpriced over engineered new design and build.
After seeing the streamlined hulls of the entire Spruance class destroyers go to scrap and marine habitat, I'm wondering if we are going to have to lease the Canadian Navy's rowboat. Thanks for the pictures though.