U.S. Navy to Remove the Island on USS Bonhomme Richard

Navy has decided to decommission USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, due to the extensive damage sustained during the July fire.
A fire continues to be fought into the evening on board the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego, July 12. On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Austin Haist/Released)

As part of USS Bonhomme Richard’s (LHD 6) on-going inactivation availability, contractors will start the process of removing the ship’s island, Feb. 23. Removal of the island will improve the ship’s structural integrity and readiness for tow. The removal process will reduce the island’s height down to just above the ship’s flight deck. The salvage contractor, SMIT AMERICAS will conduct the work under an existing contract with the Navy.

The final timeline for towing and dismantlement is still being determined.

What happened to USS Bonhomme Richard?

On 12 July 2020, a fire started on a lower deck while the ship was undergoing maintenance at Naval Base San Diego. It took four days for firefighters to extinguish the fire, which injured at least 63 sailors and civilians and severely damaged the ship.

After thorough consideration, the U.S. Navy has decided to decommission USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on 30 November 2020,

Following the fire, the U.S. 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 U.S. 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. 

uss bonhomme richard lhd 6 - naval post- naval news and information
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) sits pier side at Naval Base San Diego on July 16, 2020. (Image: US Navy)

All investigations associated with the fire onboard USS Bonhomme Richard remain ongoing.

The Bonhomme Richard is assigned to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.