The US Navy decommissioned the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in a ceremony in San Diego on Wednesday, April 14.
Although built with an expected service life of 40 years, the ship was retired from service after only 22 years due to the extensive damage that it suffered during an onboard fire in July last year.
The firefighting effort on Bonhomme Richard lasted five days and left the ship’s island and parts of its flight deck damaged beyond repair. A total of 61 personnel suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the incident.
The navy estimated that the repair effort on the vessel may exceed US$3 billion and may require five to seven years.
The navy added that US$1 billion would already be enough to purchase a newbuild hospital ship, submarine tender, or command-and-control ship.
Four separate investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, which occurred while the ship was undergoing maintenance.
Bonhomme Richard is the first Wasp-class amphibious assault ship to be decommissioned.
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