U.S. Navy to Decommission Fire-Damaged USS Bonhomme Richard

The U.S. Navy has decided to decommission its Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) due to the extensive damage sustained during the July fire.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “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.

“Although it saddens me that it is not cost effective to bring her back, I know this ship’s legacy will continue to live on through the brave men and women who fought so hard to save her, as well as the Sailors and Marines who served aboard her during her 22-year history,” Braithwaite said.

Following the fire, the Navy conducted a comprehensive material assessment that concluded the cost to restore Bonhomme Richard could exceed $3 billion and require between five and seven years to complete. The Navy also examined rebuilding the ship for alternate purposes and determined the cost could exceed $1 billion, which is as much or more than a new-construction hospital ship, submarine tender, or command-and-control ship.

Although the timeline for towing and dismantlement are still being finalized, the Navy will execute an inactivation availability that will remove systems and components for use in other ships.

The massive four-day fire which broke abroad USS Bonhomme Richard on July 12 caused extensive damages to the billion dollar vessel. The vessel was undergoing pier-side maintenance at Naval Base San Diego when the incident occurred.

The fire was initially reported in the lower vehicle storage area of the ship. Approximately 160 Sailors were aboard the 840-foot vessel at the time of the incident (the vessel has a crew size of approximately 1000). In total, 63 personnel, including 40 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, were treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation from the fire.

The Navy statement said that all investigations associated with the fire onboard LHD 6, which is assigned to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, remain ongoing.

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