USS Bonhomme Richard to Be Decommissioned in Wake of Suspected Arson

The USS Bonhomme Richard, which was the victim of a fire back in July, will be decommissioned after repair estimates came in at over $1 billion.

According to Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center, it was estimated that $2.5 billion to $3 billion would need to be spent to fully repair the ship and it would take five to seven years to complete the job. About 60% of the ship would need to be restored, including the flight deck, mast, and many levels below. To repurpose the ship as a hospital, for example, it would cost $1 billion and also take several years. Decommissioning the ship won’t be cheap either, but it will only cost $30 million, instead of billions, and should take about a year to complete.

“The dollars definitely would disrupt our strategy for investment,” he said in regard to repairing or repurposing the ship.

“Although it saddens me that it is not cost-effective to bring her back,,” Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite said in a news release issued on Monday, “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.”

Despite the decision to decommission the ship, investigations will continue into the cause of the fire. As of right now, investigators suspect that arson may have been a factor and have identified a U.S Navy sailor as a potential suspect, according to a Defense Department source who spoke with NBC 7 in August.

Despite the damage to the ship, everyone on board was safely evacuated.

Photo via AP Photo/Denis Poroy