The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Constellation is headed for Brownsville in the morning where it will be scrapped for its metal.
The 62,000-ton carrier will be towed from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington and travel more than 16,000 miles around South America before arriving at the Port of Brownsville sometime in December.
Foss Maritime says its tugboat Corbin Foss will tow the ship. The Kitsap Sun is reporting the departure is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, which is high tide.
Construction began on the Constellation, the second of the Kitty Hawk-class of carriers, in 1957 at New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn. It was commissioned in October 1961. The vessel was decommissioned in August 2003 at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, then towed to the inactive ship facility at Bremerton, Wash.
The Navy is paying International Shipbreakers $3 million to take apart the Constellation. Robert Berry, vice president of the company, said that’s because the towing distance is much longer — all the way down around the Horn of South America and up the other side — compared to other carriers being scrapped at the port.
The Constellation job will take roughly two years to complete, he said, while declining to estimate how much money the company expects to make from the salvaged metal. The steel salvaged from the ship may go to mills in Texas, Mexico or elsewhere around the world, depending on demand, he said.