Taking Apart A City Block-Sized US Navy Ship

This is a fascinating video. It shows how the US Navy destroys its old ships, one scrap of metal at a time, recycling every component to make new parts. The ship is the USS Savannah, a Wichita-class tanker almost as long as two gridiron fields and 10 floors high.

This thing was huge and heavy: 201m long, 29m tall. It used to displace 40,743 tonnes when full and, apart from all that fuel, it carried two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.

She was the fifth Savannah in the history of the US Navy, launching on April 23, 1970. The ship, which ended its life in 1995, served as a replenishment oiler for the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean until 1972, when she left to Vietnam to serve during the war. At the end of 1973, she returned to the Mediterranean until June 1974, when she returned to Norfolk, Virginia.

The video is from National Geographic's program Break It Down, which airs this Sunday, February 5. You know, in case you don't give a damn about the Superbowl and prefer to see some stuff being broken apart. [National Geographic Channel and Wikipedia]

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