Navy will scrap USS Bonhomme Richard after suspected arson

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SAN DIEGO — The Navy plans to send the San Diego-based USS Bonhomme Richard to the scrapyard because repairs to the ship after the fire in July would be too costly, officials said Monday.

The Navy looked at three options for the ship — repairing it to full mission-capabilities, refurbishing it as a tender or hospital ship, or decommissioning.

The cost of repairs was estimated to be between $2.5 billion and $3.2 billion. That combined with the five to seven years it would take to repair the ship were deemed to be too much by Navy leadership, who decided the ship will be decommissioned within a year and scrapped.

The Navy said decommissioning will cost about $30 million. The timeline for towing and dismantlement is still being finalized.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite said. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her.”

The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. More than 400 sailors assisted federal firefighters in putting out the blaze.

A senior defense official said in August that arson was suspected as the cause of fire and that a sailor was questioned as a potential suspect. Read more here.

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