USS New York, built with steel from Twin Towers, sets sail on maiden voyage
The USS New York, a new battleship built with steel from the World Trade Center, sailed into New York harbour today on its maiden voyage and delivered a 21-gun salute near Ground Zero.
The $1 billion US Navy assault vessel, whose bow includes 7.5 tonnes of steel recycled from the 2001 terror attack, will be officially commissioned in its namesake city on Saturday.
Rescue workers and families of those killed in the attack gathered on the Manhattan waterfront to watch the 684ft warship glide up the Hudson River past the World Trade Center site with its sailors standing at attention on the deck.
“It’s a transformation … from something really twisted and ugly,” said Rosaleen Tallon, who lost her fireman brother, Sean, in the terror attack. “I’m proud that our military is using that steel.”
The battleship, including a nuclear submarine, was scheduled to be built before the September 11 attack. However, after the atrocities, the US Navy decided to incorporate recycled steel from the fallen twin towers and name the vessel after New York as a tribute to the victims. It is a San Antonio-class amphibious dock vessel, capable of carrying 800 marines with helicopters.
Two other US Navy ships of the same class have also named to commemorate the September 11 attacks.
The USS Arlington was named to honour victims who died at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The USS Somerset commemorates the county in Pennsylvania where the hijacked United Airlines flight 93 crashed.
As the USS New York sailed towards New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was ferried aboard by one of the ship’s hovercraft. He spent the evening with the crew watching the New York Yankees play the Philadelphia Phillies in baseball’s World Series yesterday.
The USS New York will remain in the city until Veterans Day on November 11. It will then head to its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, for a year of crew training and exercises.
The US Navy said it had many requests to serve aboard the ship. Some 13 percent of the current crew of 361 sailors come from New York – far higher than would normally be assigned.