Oct 24, 2013 05:13 PM EDT
USS Forrestal: U.S. Navy Pays Scap Metal Company One-Cent To Dismantle Historic Ship
The Navy gave a scrap metal company a penny to take its first supercarrier, the decommissioned Forrestal, off its hands, Fox News reported.
The U.S. Navy paid All Star Metals in Texas one-cent to dismantle the 1,067-foot behemoth to be scrapped and recycled. The company was selected among a handful of other contractors, after passing security clearances, the U.S. Navy said in a statement. "It's an inauspicious fate for a ship with a colorful - and tragic - history."
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The ship is perhaps best known for a 1967 incident in which stray voltage triggered an accidental explosion that struck a plane on the flight deck whose cockpit was occupied by a young John McCain, according to Fox News. A chain reaction of blasts and fires ultimately killed 134 men and injured more than 300.
But its rich past and nearly four decades of service are not enough to spare it. The Navy tried to donate the historic ship for use as a memorial or a museum after it was decommissioned in 1993, but no "viable applications" were received, Fox News reported.
"It's something that the Navy is caught between a rock and a hard place," Ken Killmeyer, historian for the USS Forrestal Association and a survivor of the 1967 incident told Fox News. "They have to have these vessels no matter how big or small they are, and they use them as you would your car until they're no longer financially viable. So, they decommission them."
All Star Metals plans to tow the aircraft carrier from its current location at the Navy's inactive ship facility in Philadelphia to its facility in Brownsville, Texas. The Company gets the proceeds and a penny but now must pay for moving and dismantling the ship, according to a Navy press release.
Named after James Forrestal, the former Navy secretary and the first U.S. Secretary of Defense, the carrier was lauded as the "biggest ship ever built" by Popular Science. More than 16,000 engineers, draftsmen and builders worked on the ship, which took an estimated $217 million - nearly $2 billion in today's dollars - to build, according to Fox News.