Enterprise moves as Newport News shipyard continues work

Hugh Lessig
Contact Reporterhlessig@dailypress.com

Newport News Shipbuilding moved the former USS Enterprise to a different area of the yard Wednesday to continue work on its inactivation and eventual towing out of Hampton Roads.

Tugboats guided the world's first nuclear-powered carrier from a dry dock to Pier 2, said company spokeswoman Christie Miller.

Shipbuilders have completed all dry dock-related work, and moving it to the pier will allow the shipyard to complete the remaining tasks involved with inactivation. That includes closing compartments and preparation work related to dismantling and towing, Miller said.

The move has an added benefit: It frees up the dry dock for arrival of the USS George Washington, which is due in Newport News later this year to begin its mid-life overhaul.

The Enterprise, one of the country's most storied ships, is destined for recycling, but the Navy hasn't settled on a final plan.

Nuclear-powered warships currently go to their final resting place at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Washington state. However, the Navy has considered alternatives for the Enterprise.

In August 2016, it requested proposals from private industry on recycling the ship. But the Navy announced in February that it had canceled the proposal and had not decided on a preferred approach. It will place the ship in temporary storage until a decision is reached.

There has been no word on a temporary storage location or when the Navy will settle on a plan. Naval Sea Systems Command is still gathering information, spokesman Bill Couch said Wednesday.

The ship, designed and manufactured at the Newport News shipyard, was decommissioned in February, formally ending more than 50 years of service to the country.

Lessig can be reached by phone at 757-247-7821.

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