The decommissioned USS Saratoga is on its way from Naval Station Newport to a recycling plant in Brownsville, Texas, where it will be scrapped and recycled, according to the U.S. Navy.
The aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1956, was pulled Thursday morning from Pier 1 by the buyer, Esco Marine, at 7:40 a.m., said Naval Station Newport Public Affairs Specialist Bob Krekorian.
Having fallen into disrepair since being decommissioned in 1994, the aircraft carrier had been located at the station since 1998, he said.
Sold to Esco Marine for 1 cent with the agreement that the Texas firm would tow, dismantle and recycle the vessel, the aircraft carrier reached the mouth of Narragansett Bay late Thursday morning, Krekorian said.
The trip to Brownsville via the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico was expected to take approximately 16 days, he said, with an expected arrival date in Texas of Sept. 10.
When it arrived in Newport in 1994, the aircraft carrier had no fuel but was considered an active industrial site so public visitations were not allowed. A memorial foundation tried to convert it to a museum and tourist attraction, but that effort failed, Krekorian said.