Navy pays a penny to get rid of aircraft carrier

USS Saratoga photo from US Navy

USS Saratoga photo from US Navy

(CNN) — For the second time in two years, the U.S. Navy is parting with one of its aircraft carriers for a penny.

The Navy announced Thursday it’s paying ESCO Marine of Brownsville, Texas, one cent to take the former USS Saratoga off its hands for dismantling and recycling.

The warship was decommissioned in 1994. It is now at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island and is expected to be towed to Texas in the summer, the Navy said.

The 56,000-ton Saratoga was commissioned in 1956 and saw action off North Vietnam in 1972 and 1973.

In 1985, fighters from the Saratoga helped capture terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean, forcing a jetliner carrying them to land at an air base in Sicily.

The carrier was also part of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and air operations over the Balkans in 1992, 1993 and 1994, according to Navy records.

The Saratoga will follow the former USS Forrestal to dismantling in Texas. That ship was towed to All Star Metals of Brownsville earlier this year, with the Navy paying a penny to the ship recycler under a contract awarded last October.

The recyclers make money from selling the metal they salvage from the warships.

A third carrier, the former USS Constellation, is expected to meet a similar fate soon, according to a Navy statement.

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