An enormous and old world war II era floating drydock used in repairing US warships is on its way heading to the Philippines, after spending nearly half a century at Naval Base in Guam.
A 467-ton Philippine tugboat “Rhocas” together with several local tugboats pulled and guided the USS Richland floating drydock out of Apra Harbor Wednesday in an open ocean for a long voyage to the Philippines.
The tugboat Rhocas began that tow on Thursday and it will take a week before it reaches the Philippines.
In a Navy statement, Paul Yatar, a crane operator in the Guam Shipyard, said “I’ve been working on this drydock since I was 18 — in the 1970s and ‘80s, and I worked on her while she was an active drydock, but it has reached its lifecycle, and it’s a good thing to see it go after all this time.”
The floating drydock USS Richland was built in 1943 by Chicago Building & Iron Company of Eureka, California. Has a size of more than two football fields long, 124 feet wide and 57 feet high.
The United States Navy said, that the USS Richland was put into commission in 1944. Towed first to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, then to Eniwetok and Ulithi atolls before making its way to San Pedro Bay, Philippines, to be used with U.S. and Allied ships near the end of World War II.
It has a deep basin that can be flooded so ships can be floated in and repaired after the water is drained. It’s not yet clear what will happen to the drydock, once it reaches the Philippines.
Capt. Alfred “Andy” Anderson, the base’s commanding officer, said for the past few years, the piers at the base have undergone major renovations and had made lots of improvements for this old floating drydock.
In 1946, It was reclassified as a medium auxiliary floating drydock. It served as a major jumping-off point for ships and aircraft when it arrived in 1968 at Apra Harbor in Guam and was renamed and called USS Richland when the United States is at war in Vietnam – Carl E. / Stars and Stripes