Saturday, September 09, 2006
For the past several years a group of Navy veterans in Milwaukee have tried saving the USS Des Moines (CA-134). They even tried bringing it back as a tourist attraction, but when the city rejected the proposal the ship was forced to make it's way to the valley to be torn apart. "So once this vessel is dismantled and fully scraped there will be no more vessels of this class," Rafael Carrasco, CEO of ESCO Marine, said. ESCO Marine is only one of three companies approved for dismantling Navy ships. While the Des Moines holds historical value Carrasco, said this isn't the largest ship of its kind.
USS Des Moines (CA-134)"So this one is a little bit smaller but because it is a combat ship it brings alot of different challenges to the table," he said. The challenges Carrasco refers to include removing the gun turrets and weapons. The ship was never used in battle, but it was one of the largest cruisers of it's time. The initial plan was to make it a museum, but an underwater survey showed it would be cheaper to make scrap metal out of the ship instead. USS Des Moines (CA-134)"I know that there are other vessels in line to become museums so they probably decided at some point that this was just not the right candidate and decided it was best to proceed with the ship dismantling," he said. Carrasco expects the process to take anywhere between 6 to 8 months to fully dismantle this piece of history. The ship had been on an unsuccessful donation hold for 14 years before the Navy made its decision. It's sister ship, the USS Salem (CA-139) has been preserved as an existing ship museum in Quincy, Massachusetts. USS Salem (CA-139)