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Feb. 23 – As part of the continuing inactivation of the vessel, contractors were scheduled to begin the process of removing the island of the USS Bonhomme Richard on Tuesday. According to the Navy, the removal of the island would increase the structural stability and towing readiness of the ship, lowering the height of the island to just above the flight deck of the ship.Under an existing contract with the Navy, SMIT AMERICAS performs the salvage work.

The Navy reported earlier this month that the dismantling of the Bonhomme Richard would commence on April 15. An amphibious assault ship caught fire and burned in San Diego in July for four days.The fire caused substantial damage to the flight deck, mast and tower levels of the Richard that would cost up to $3.2 billion to repair or convert to other maritime use, Navy officials said in November, prompting a decision to decommission and scrap the ship, which had recently undergone a $250 million upgrade to accommodate the F-35B fighter plane’s takeoffs and landings.The Navy is still investigating the blast, but a possible arson suspect was named by officials in August.

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