On June 15, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced an accelerated timeline for the relocation of three navy ships from Hampton Roads to Mayport, Florida. According to the release, the USS New York (LPD 21), USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), will shift from their current homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, to Mayport. The New York will be the first to change homeport, followed by the Iwo Jima and Fort McHenry in 2014.
The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) reports that although these three ships represent only a fraction of the Navy’s presence in Hampton Roads, the economic loss will be significant. According to Secretary Mabus, the transfer of ships will bring $75 million in maintenance and repair work to Mayport, a direct reduction from the ship repair industry in Hampton Roads. The HRPDC says that the direct loss of crew (1,847 total for the three ships) combined with the indirect and induced impacts will result in a net employment loss of approximately 5,220 and a $590 million decrease to Hampton Roads’ gross regional product.
Future Navy plans affecting Hampton Roads include the movement of six guided missile destroyers, each with a crew of 276 (three to Mayport and three to Rota, Spain), eight coastal patrol crafts, each with a crew of 28 (to Mayport and Bahrain), and the decommissioning of the cruiser USS Anzio. Navy plans also include relocating two existing ships to the region, a cruiser (crew of 364) from Mayport, and a hospital ship from Baltimore (crew of 80), as well as an undetermined number of new construction ships.
For more information, visit www.hrpdcva.gov.