Superstructure removal begins on fire-damaged US Navy amphibious ship Bonhomme Richard

USS Bonhomme Richard sits pierside at Naval Base San Diego on July 16, 2020, four days after a devastating fire ignited on board the ship. (Photo: US Navy)

As part of the on-going inactivation availability on the fire-damaged US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, contractors started the process of removing the ship’s superstructure on Tuesday, February 23.

The navy said removal of the superstructure will improve the ship’s structural integrity and readiness for tow. The removal process will reduce the superstructure’s height down to just above the ship’s flight deck.

Salvage contractor Smit Americas will conduct the work under an existing contract with the navy.

The final timeline for towing and dismantlement is still being determined.

Meanwhile, all investigations associated with the fire onboard Bonhomme Richard remain ongoing.

The navy decided to decommission and scrap Bonhomme Richard after it conducted a comprehensive material assessment.

The assessment revealed that the cost of reconstructing the ship could exceed US$1 billion, which the navy said is roughly equivalent to the cost of acquiring a newbuild hospital ship, submarine tender, or command-and-control ship.

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