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Scrapping awaits ‘supercarrier’ USS Independence

United States – The 60 000-ton USS Independence – the last of the Forrestal class of aircraft carriers – has been successfully towed through Brazos Santiago Pass on the way to the Port of Brownsville for recycling.

Decommissioned in 1998, the 1070-foot-long carrier – which was deployed in the Vietnam War, the Lebanese Civil War and Operation Southern Watch in Iraq – will be scrapped by ISL.

Five retired Navy vessels have already been dismantled at the Port of Brownsville where the salvage of the USS Constellation was completed at the end of May.

The USS Independence left Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington on March 11 and has rounded Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America; its arrival has been delayed by ‘mechanical issues’.

ISL’s president Chris Green says environmental assessments, safety inspections and removal of hazardous materials will start as soon as the vessel is tied up. He estimates scrapping the USS Independence will take roughly 18 months.

The ‘supercarrier’ contains valuable armour plate, a high-nickel steel that is worth almost twice as much as conventional steel, according to Green. Metals will be melted down and used in the manufacture of new products for the US military.

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