Hole in the Clouds

Tag: Philadelphia Navy Yard

History in the un-making

Jun 13, 2010


What used to be the USS Barney, a guided-missile destroyer, is dismantled in drydock in what used to be the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Barney was commissioned in 1962 at what was then a big, bustling naval shipyard on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. For the next thirty years or so, both the ship and the shipyard were busy protecting democracy from communism and stuff. By 1995, however, the ship was decommissioned and the navy yard was partly closed, partly turned over to a private shipbuilding company, and mostly set aside as a Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, a boneyard for old boats. 

The Barney was sold for scrap in 1995 and then again in 1999; the first contract had to be cancelled after some kind of scrapyard shenanigans. After the ship was torn to pieces in the NISMF drydock, the pieces were floated across the river on a barge, for crushing and recycling at a scrapyard in Camden, New Jersey. 

There's actually a backlog of tired, old ships in Philadelphia waiting for that final berth in drydock. Next in line for deconstruction at the moment is the USS Shreveport, which ran aground in the Suez Canal on its way home from Mogadishu, following service in the Somali conflict. The Shreveport's captain was removed from command, but a million dollars' worth of duct tape and other repairs patched up the ship well enough so it could limp through another couple of tours of duty. Nowadays, it is resting in the river at the edge of a parking lot, waiting for its turn in the drydock of doom.

Philadelphia Navy Yard   U.S.S. Barney  

Missing Links

Apr 29, 2011

The chain at the bow has been broken, but this ship's not going anywhere. She's sitting high in the water because her engine has been removed, along with every scrap of salvageable anything in her hull. She's even lost her name and her commission.

Ships come here to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to surrender to the entropy at the far side of the military-industrial universe. After months of dismantlement, they're sold as scrap and towed across the river to New Jersey.

Philadelphia Navy Yard   ship   ruins