Former Royal Navy submarine HMS Onyx towed to scrapyard

HMS Onyx has left Barrow-in-Furness and is on her way to the ship breakers at Helensburgh. If nobody could raise the funds to preserve her as a museum ship during the last eight years, then it’s unlikely that anyone is going to step in at the last minute and save her.

Story from the North West Evening Mail follows:

Falklands veteran sub leaves Barrow and embarks on her final voyage
Thursday, 01 May 2014

A SUBMARINE left rusting in docks has been towed away after eight years.

HMS Onyx, an Oberon-class vessel which saw service in the Falklands War, was brought to Barrow in 2006 by businessman Joe Mullen as part of plans to use it as a museum.

Mr Mullen paid £117,000 for the sub after an idea by the Barrow branch of the Submariners Association, led by Terry Spurling, that it could become an interactive centrepiece at a submarine heritage centre.

Yesterday HMS Onyx was towed from Buccleuch Dock, in Barrow.

Mr Spurling said: “It is a hope more than anything that she is saved but at the moment she is going to Helensburgh for scrap.

“I happen to know there are people in Helensburgh trying to do what we tried to do here.

“It would be a tragedy if she was to be scrapped, she’s in such good condition internally and she is one of the Falklands boats.

“She’s one of the last O-boats available for a heritage centre, I do hope she is not scrapped.”

HMS Onyx (S21) was built at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1967. She served throughout the Cold War and saw honourable service during the Falklands War, landing special forces along the coast. Decomissioned in 1991, Onyx was placed on display in Birkenhead by the Warship Preservation Trust. In 2006, the trust went into liquidation and Onyx was sold to Barrow businessman Joe Mullen for £100,000. Funds to preserve Onyx as a museum ship were not forthcoming… and so we reach the end of her story.

OTDIH 29 Dec 1860 Royal Navy ironclad frigate HMS Warrior launched

On this day in history, 29th December 1860, the Royal Navy armoured frigate HMS Warrior was launched at the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co., Blackwall, London.

A contemporary full hull model of the HMS ‘Warrior’ (1860), a single-screw, broadside ironclad battleship. In collection of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Paid off in 1883, Warrior wound up hulked at Pembroke Dock as floating oil jetty. Towed to Hartlepool in 1979 for restoration, she finally made her way to Portsmouth in 1987 where she remains as a museum ship to this day.

Tinted lithograph of the three-masted armoured frigate, HMS Warrior (1860) on a starboard tack running through strong waves before a good wind. In collection of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Veteran US Navy aircraft carrier USS Forrestal sold for scrap… for just 1-cent!

Talk about a bargain! The USS Forrestal has been sold for scrap… for just 1 cent!

The USS Forrestal (CV-59) was the lead vessel of her class and was commissioned into the United States Navy in 1955, serving until 1993. All four Forrestal-class aircraft carriers are slated for scrapping, despite strong campaigns to preserve at least one as a museum ship and to sink one as an artificial reef.

USS Forrestal, Navy’s first ‘supercarrier,’ sold for one cent

The aircraft carrier USS FORRESTAL (CV 59), escorted by a pair of tug boats, passes under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge as it approaches New York City for Fleet Week on April 29, 1989. (U.S. Navy)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) — The aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, out of service for 20 years, is being sold to a Brownsville, Texas, scrap company for a penny, the Navy says.

All Star Metals bid $0.01 for the job, the Navy said in a news release Tuesday. The company’s offer was based on its estimate of how much it can net from the sale of metal from the Forrestal.

The Forrestal, the first of the Navy’s “supercarriers,” was launched in December 1954 in Newport News, Va., and commissioned on Sept. 29, 1955. It was named after James V. Forrestal, the last Navy secretary to sit in the cabinet and the first secretary of defense, who committed suicide in 1949.

The carrier was decommissioned in 1993. The Navy offered to donate it as a museum or memorial but no suitable organizations offered to take the vessel.

The Forrestal is currently docked in Philadelphia.

Opening USS John F. Kennedy as a museum ship in Newport, RI

For “Middletown” read “Newport.”

Anyone who has driven over the 138 bridge will have seen the decommissioned USS Saratoga (CV-60) and the USS Forrestal (CV-59) moored at the old NAVSTA Newport destroyer piers. The Forrestal has been towed to NISMF Philadephia pending a final trip to the breaker’s yard… but why the museum group is expending effort on bringing the Big John to Newport instead of moving quickly to secure the Sara… you know, because it’s already there… oh well… I say “good luck to ’em!” and let’s hope the Navy plays nice.

Group trying to bring retired aircraft carrier to R.I. as a museum

The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, the last conventionally powered carrier built by the Navy, was retired in 2007.

MIDDLETOWN — A vote last week by the Middletown Town Council in support of bringing the retired aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy to Rhode Island to use as a museum will help move the project forward, according to the president of the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame.

The 6-to-1 vote doesn’t commit the town but it shows the Navy, which will decide if the group can have the ship, that the local government is in support of the effort, said Frank Lennon, the president of the non-profit Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame.

Lennon said the group, which has been working since 2010 to bring the aircraft carrier to Rhode Island, hopes to dock the ship on federal land at the naval station. The plan is to locate the carrier at the Navy’s northernmost pier and move the fence line so it is accessible to the public. This plan would free visitors from having to go through the Navy base’s strict security.

The next step for the group is to come up with a proposal to move the fence line, Lennon said. He said the group expects to have a proposal within about two months.

Lennon said bringing the aircraft carrier to Rhode Island would produce jobs and attract visitors to the state and will not cost residents.

Lennon said $10.5 million in a conditional federal loan guarantee and pledges have been identified from money that was to go to the Saratoga project at Quonset Point before the Navy decided to scrap the Saratoga. He said $25 million to $35 million would be needed to pay for the project and that the group will commence to raise money.

The John F. Kennedy, known as Big John, was the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier built by the Navy and once carried 4,600 crew members and 70 combat aircraft. It was active in both Iraq wars and the war in Afghanistan and decommissioned in 2007.

OTDIH 21 August 1943

70-years ago today…

The U-boat war encounters the age of sail:

U-596, a Type VIIC U-boat on its 7th war patrol, Oblt. Victor-Wilhelm Nonn commanding, sunk 3 Allied vessels: the sailing ship Lily (132 GRT) sunk with eight shells from U-596’s deck gun about 20 miles north-northwest of Beirut; the sailing ship Namaz (50 GRT) sunk with thirteen shells from deck gun; the sailing ship Panikos (21 GRT) sunk with twenty-five shells from deck gun. During her 12 war patrols, U-506 would sink 41,411 GRT of Allied shipping. At the conclusion of her final patrol in 1944, U-596 was damaged by Allied bombing while in port. She was scuttled on 24 September 1944.

Cross section of a Type VIIC U-Boat.

From the shipyards:

USS Batfish (SS-310), a Balao-class submarine built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. Wayne Rucker Merrill, USN commanding. After 26-years of service, Batfish was struck from the Naval Register in 1969. She is currently preserved as a war memorial in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

USS Batfish Memorial Park, Muskogee, Oklahoma.

USS Bunch (DE 694), a Buckley-class destroyer escort built by Defoe Boat and Marine Works, Bay City, Michigan, was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. Alfred Alan Campbell, USNR commanding. After serving as an Atlantic escort, Bunch was converted to a high-speed transport (APD) and served in the Pacific, receiving two battle stars for her service. Placed in reserve in 1946, she was finally stuck from the Naval Register in 1964 and sold for scrap.

USS Bunch (DE 694) during sea trials, 1943.

And an accidental torpedoing:

HMS Belvoir (L32), a Hunt-class escort destroyer, Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC, RN commanding, accidentally torpedoed the American merchant Cape Mohican while escorting convoy MKF-122 in the Mediterranean. The convoy escorts had apparently sighted two darkened ships steaming ahead of the convoy and made their torpedo tubes ready, at 22.55 hours when they were trained to port for the second time a torpedo was fired accidentally by HMS Belvoir. She then immediately went to the assistance of Cape Mohican and escorted her to Malta.

HMS Belvoir (L32) Hunt class escort destroyer.

OTDIH 16 August 1943

70-years ago today…

USS Hill (DE 141) an Edsall-class destroyer escort built by Consolidated Steel, Orange, Tx, was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. G. R. Keating, USN commanding.

USS Intrepid (CV 11) an Essex-class aircraft carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. was commissioned into the United States Navy, Capt. Thomas Lamison Sprague, USN commanding. Decommissioned in 1972, the Intrepid has been a museum ship in New York City since 1982.

USS Intrepid (CV 11)

HMS Capel (K 470) a Captain-class frigate built at Boston Navy Yard was commissioned into the Royal Navy, Lt. Bevil Grenfell Heslop, RN commanding.

USS J. R. Y. Blakely (DE 140) an Edsall-class destroyer built by Consolidated Steel, Orange, Tx was commissioned into the United States Navy, Cmdr. John H. Forshew, USN commanding.

USS Sloat (DE 245) an Edsall-class destroyer escort built by Brown Shipbuilding, Houston, Tx was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. Edmund Ernest Garcia, USN commanding.

USS Welles (DD 628) a Bristol-class destroyer built by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. Doyle Murray Coffee, USN commanding. Named after Gideon Welles, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy throughout the Civil War.

USS Welles (DD 628)

Moving HMS Plymouth to the Devonport Museum

Granted, you can’t save every old warship as a museum. That would be impractical, expensive, wasteful and undesirable. However, there are certain vessels that simply must be preserved – those that took part in great historic events, particularly vessels that are “the last of their kind,” and those that would serve as a lasting tribute to the men and women who served in the nation’s conflicts. HMS Plymouth is one of those ships.

HMS Plymouth ‘should return to dockyard’

THE veteran warship HMS Plymouth should return to her birthplace at Devonport Dockyard, a campaigner believes.

HMS Plymouth is the last surviving warship from the 1982 Falklands War.

HMS Plymouth moored on Merseyside

She was launched in Devonport in 1959 and decommissioned in 1988.

The ship is moored at Vittoria Dock in Birkenhead, after the collapse of the Warship Preservation Trust, which ran her as a floating museum until 2006.

Laurence Sharpe-Stevens, the director of the HMS Plymouth Trust, announced last year that he had found a berth for HMS Plymouth in the North East of England.

But this week he said that his preferred choice was Plymouth, where she could be turned into a museum and a training ship.

Mr Sharpe-Stevens said he believed the Ministry of Defence would release three docks at Devonport’s South Yard to Plymouth City Council in the next three years.

He is exploring the possibility of co-locating HMS Plymouth with the existing Devonport Museum, and bringing in visitors by water.

The trust was told last year by Peel Ports, the Birkenhead dock operator, that they had sold the ship to a Turkish ship breaker, and asked the trust to raise £400,000 to buy her back.

But Mr Sharpe-Stevens said he had discovered that this was untrue.

Mr Sharpe-Stevens said he had been given evidence by the Treasury Solicitor that ownership of HMS Plymouth had never been passed on after the failure of the Warship Preservation Trust. The Environment Agency had not received an application for the licence that would be required to send the ship abroad, he said.

And the Marine and Coastguard Agency had not been asked to carry out a survey which would be required before the ship could be towed to Turkey.

He said he had contacted all the scrap dealers in Turkey and none of them admitted to having obtained HMS Plymouth.

Peel Ports has not responded to The Herald’s requests for comments.

Mr Sharpe-Stevens said he was not seeking any cash from Plymouth City Council.

“Also, we are not raising money to purchase the ship because she is ownerless as the Crown Treasury has never gifted or granted the ship to anybody. Peel Ports do not own the ship by default as there is no such thing in law.”

He said the ship was in good condition, in spite of her rusty appearance in recent photographs. “This is mostly surface paint rust streaks. We think Peel Ports is not discouraging the spread of the ‘rusty hulk’ untrue rumour because it gives them justification (and no protests) to scrap her for cash.”

Restoration work on HMS Alliance nears completion

Restoration work on HMS Alliance nears completion as the historic submarine receives a final coat of paint at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in

Launched in 1945, HMS Alliance was one of fourteen ‘A’ class submarines built for service in the Far East during World War 2.

Back in Black

With the grey anti corrosion undercoat complete Alliance was ready for the final coat in black. The black paint had to be done non-stop without a break in order that the paint dried with an even finish all over. The scaffolding that has shrouded the boat for the past nine months is now slowly being dismantled but there remains a lot of finishing off work to the cofferdam while inside the boat work will carry on until February 2014.

With the grey anti corrosion undercoat complete Alliance was ready for the final coat in black. The black paint had to be done non-stop without a break in order that the paint dried with an even finish all over. The scaffolding that has shrouded the boat for the past nine months is now slowly being dismantled but there remains a lot of finishing off work to the cofferdam while inside the boat work will carry on until February 2014.

360° panorama of USS Midway flight deck

The aircraft carrier Midway was commissioned a week after the end of World War II and served as the Persian Gulf flagship during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. It was the longest-serving U.S. Navy carrier of the 20th century and held the title of largest ship in the world from 1945 to 1955. The carrier is now a floating aviation museum in San Diego.

Check out this 360° panorama. Take it to full screen. In high def. You’re welcome.

USS Midway flight deck