As surplus property sold to civilian owned firms hulls of 19th century Monitors outlasted most 19th and 20th

century Battleships

Some combat ships of the 19th and early 20th centuries had unusual second careers after decommissioning. The hulls of these ships outlasted those of most of the battleships that replaced them. The final phase of the acquisition life cycle of an item is how it is disposed of. The Federal Acquisition Regulations have since their founding said to consider sources of surplus property that can be modified for reuse before considering issuing contracts for the building of new items. The histories of ships discussed below include all of these topics. These ships were altered several times when they were combat ships and modified several times again as barges and support vessels. Not all combat ships become training ships, test ships, targets or are sold for scrap or to other nations when removed from active service. It is common even in present times of strict rules on demilitarization of former military property sold for civilian use that some ships are sold for reuse by civilians. Some of the services use the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) as a means of selling some vessels to the general public under an exchange program that lets the services use the proceeds of those sales to offset cost of replacement craft. Those are usually small craft and barges self propelled or non propelled. Some light small craft that military units may have used as utility craft (powered skiffs, Boston Whaler type craft et) sometimes end up going out to th DRMS sales contractor for sales to the public. Occasionally some RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) will also be turned over to DRMS and might end up being sold to the DRMS sales contractor for resale to the public. RIBs have replaced many of the metal whaleboats used on government owned ships. Many of the craft that are in better shape are taken for reuse by other elements of the armed forces, other federal agencies -- or go out to state surplus property agencies or to law enforcement agencies through a special law enforcement support program. All of those levels of government get to requisition the excess property that DRMS manage before it can be passed along to the DRMS sales contractor for potential public sale. Most modern cruisers, destroyers, and frigates are scrapped, become museum ships, foreign military sales or targets. However in the pre WW II era there were several conversions of combat ships to industrial uses. Some of these former warship hulls survived in to the 1950's and one became a museum ship

These former monitors may have required greater time and expense to convert from warships than building new ships but these hulls had certain hull shape, material composition, and framing features that made them more suitable than new or converted civilian construction.

The USS Chickasaw USS Chickasaw, a 1300-ton Milwaukee class twin-turret ironclad river monitor built at Carondelet, Missouri, was commissioned in May 1864 5. In July of 1865 she was sent to New Orleans and decommissioned. Briefly renamed Samson in June-August 1869, the monitor saw no further active service and was sold in September 1874. She was converted to a railroad ferry by her civilian owners and later given side-wheel propulsion. Ship had been built with stern mounted screw propeller propulsion. Ship was owned for many decades by the famous in the New Orleans maritime industry Bisso family. Ship was converted to a barge during WW II and was allowed to sink in the New Orleans area in the 1950's. Army Corps of Engineers had a contractor survey and report on the wreck in 2004-2005 after it was discovered during a levee repair project in 2004 The Solve of the Royal Navy of Sweden John Ericsson, the designer of the USS Monitor and successor classes of Union Navy ironclads in the Civil War was a native of Sweden. A few years before he died he designed a class of 3 monitors for Sweden. The Solve was one of these three .This class had the very low freeboard like the USS Monitor. Obsolete by advances in mines, motor torpedo boats, airplanes and armor types the Solve was to be sold for scrap by the Swedish Navy in 1920. Instead of scrapping it the navy had the ironclad stripped of its turret and much of the material inside the hull and converted the ship into a barge for fuels and lubricants. The navy used the barge for many years then sold it to Mobil Oil's Swedish division. The firm sold the barge for scrap in the early 1980's but the scrap yard offered it to the Gothenburg Maritime Museum where it remains on display today.

USS Amphitrite <>

One of the last monitor type ships built for the U.S. navy was the USS Amphitrite, a 3990-ton double-turret monitor, was constructed over two decades, from 1874 to 1895 at the Harlan and Hollingsworth Shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware. Prior to the SpanishAmerican War, she was employed along the U.S. east coast, and served in the Caribbean during that conflict. After 1898, Amphitrite remained active as a training and station ship and guarded the approaches to New York Harbor during the First World War. The monitor was decommissioned in 1919 and sold in 1920. The hull was stripped of all armament and deckhouse. It served 1920 -1952 as a floating hotel built like a navy barracks barge in civilian ownership. In 1952 it was scrapped by the Patapsco Scrap Corporation of Bethlehem Steel in the Baltimore, MD Harbor. The photo collection of Mariners Museum in Newport News Virginia has photos of the hull being used as a floating motel. There were some conversions to high speed fruit carrying freighters carried out on the flush decked destroyers built by the United States Navy in the 1900 to 1920 era. These conversions were done on ships that still had many years of service life left but were considered obsolete by changes in military tactics and technology or had to be demilitarized because of the requirements of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty and the treaties that followed it. Some of these ships were still in service when World War II began and were used as freighters under Army control. The last U.S. Navy flush deck type destroyer hull to be scrapped was that of the USS Putnam built in 1919 and sold and converted in 1930 to a freighter named MV Teapa . It had a 25 year service life as a merchant ship.

There was one reuse in modern times of a combat ship hull for civilian purposes. The Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer USS Hoel (DDG -13) was converted to a power generating barge by a U.S. firm for use in Brazil. The ship was decommissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1990 and offered for sale for scrap in 1994 . Charleston Shipbuilders Inc. Charleston_Shipbuilders_Inc proposed to the DRMS to convert the ship into a power

barge. DRMS agreed to the plan . The ship was stripped of the deckhouse and all weapons systems. The smokestack/funnel was retained as was all of the ship's engine room systems. The barge was towed to Manaus Brazil in 1997 and briefly used to supplement the city's regular power plants. The amount of power generated by the barge did not meet the contracted requirements with the power company because of problems in maintaining the old machinery of the ship. The contract was terminated by the Brazilian power company after a year and the hull of ship remains in Manaus having been sunk after the mechanical parts were removed by scrap metal firms.

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