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Dismantling of USS Bonhomme Richard to begin in April

Dismantling of USS Bonhomme Richard to begin in April
The U.S. Navy announced on Wednesday that the USS Bonhomme Richard, badly damaged in a July fire in San Diego, will be dismantled beginning on April 15, 2021.  Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy 

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Dismantling of the USS Bonhomme Richard, badly damaged in a July 2020 fire, will begin on April 15, the U.S. Navy announced.

The amphibious assault ship caught fire in San Diego in July and burned for four days.

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The extensive damage to its flight deck, mast and tower levels would cost up to $3.2 billion to repair or convert to another maritime use, Rear Adm. Eric Van Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center said in November, prompting a decision to decommission and scrap the 266 foot-long ship at that time.

The ship, commissioned in 1998, had recently undergone a $250 million upgrade to accommodate takeoffs and landings of the F-35B fighter plane.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but a potential arson suspect was identified in August.

Testing indicated that the fire released toxic chemicals into the air, and several Navy firefighters were injured in the attempt to extinguish the fire.

The announcement, issued Friday by the Navy, also mentions the disposition of other vessels.

The coastal patrol ships USS Shamal and USS Zephyr will be scrapped and the USS Tornado will be sold to a foreign military partner, part of the Navy's plan to divest itself of all 12 ships in that class.

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The ocean-going tugboat USS Sioux will also be sold, and the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry will be inactivated in April.

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