The USS Forrestal, once a powerful and mighty battleship in Uncle Sam’s Navy, is making one last voyage this week. Berthed at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, the super-carrier is scheduled to depart the city it has called home for the last 14 years, en route to a scrap facility down South.
The United States sought proposals from interested buyers to turn the Forrestal into a floating museum, memorial or attraction but officials say none of the applications were deemed viable. There was also a plan to sink the ship to become a deep water reef for fishing propagation but that plan never saw the light of day. It has remained docked at Pier 4 at the Philadelphia Shipyard since June 2010.
The first of the post-World War II super-carriers was launched on December 11, 1954 by Newport News Shipbuilding and was decommissioned at Pier 6E in Philadelphia on September 11, 1993 after nearly four decades of service to the Navy.
Named after former Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, the ship has been stripped down to its bare steel and if the weather permits, will be floated down the Delaware River from the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility and down the Eastern Seaboard to the Gulf port of Brownsville, Texas. Sold to All Star Metals for a penny, once the ship drops anchor at Brownsville it will be dismantled piece by piece.
Just a skeleton of what was once a superpower battleship, the Forrestal will be towed to the scrap heap by Foss Marine Towing. All Star Metals is responsible for the cost of towing, insuring and dismantling the vessel with the aim of recovering its costs and turning a profit with the sale of the Forrestal’s scrap.
While no official plans have been announced for the Forrestal’s departure, many veterans in the Philadelphia area who served on the ship are expected to turn out along publicly accessible spots on the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware shore lines on the Delaware River to salute the ship on its final voyage.