MAYPORT, Fla., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's second-to-last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate is being prepared in Florida for its deactivation next month.
The Navy says deactivation preparations on the USS Simpson are being conducted by its Southeast Regional Maintenance Center with the help of its crew and local contractors.
Ship spaces are systematically prepared, inspected and closed; classified material is being removed; shipboard fluids are being drained; and steel plates and rubber gaskets are being attached to cap all the pipes and valves leading to the outside of the guided-missile frigate.
According to the Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard is harvesting weapons system components from the Simpson. Similar harvesting activities by the Coast Guard have resulted in cost savings to it of $24 million.
"We're lucky," said Renee Justice, port engineer in charge of Simpson's decommission preparations. "Simpson has a great crew. We just passed the milestone where we are to have 25 percent of the spaces closed out, and Simpson is at 56 percent closed."
Following decommissioning, the Simpson will eventually be sold to a foreign country through the Foreign Military Sales program. Bahrain, Egypt, Poland, Turkey and Pakistan have so far purchased decommissioned U.S. frigates.
The USS Simpson was commissioned in 1985.