Dry Dock ‘Richland’ removed from Naval Base Guam after 48 years


“Dry-dock Richland is towed out of Apra Harbor, Jan. 28, with the help of several local tug boats and the large tugboat “Rhocas,” from the Philippines. The Richland will be towed to the Philippines over the next several days. (U.S. Navy Photos)

APRA HARBOR, Guam—An extensive effort to relocate the floating dry-dock “Richland” (ADFM-8) from the confines of Apra Harbor, U.S. Naval Base Guam, entered the final stages around 1pm last Jan. 27, as a multitude of vessels gathered at NBG’s inner harbor. The assembly of maritime assets was required to prepare Richland for an open ocean tow from Guam.

Richland, a 622-feet long, 124-feet wide and 57-feet high dry dock owned by Guam Shipyard (has been located in Apra Harbor since 1968. “I’ve been working on this dry dock [Richland] since I was 18 – in the 1970s and ’80s” said Paul Yatar, a crane operator with GSY. “I worked on her while she was an active dry dock, but it has reached its lifecycle, and it’s a good thing to see it go after all this time.”

On Jan 28, after all inspections and checks of seaworthiness were complete, the 212-foot, 467-ton tug Rhocas got underway from NBG with the Richland under tow. Rhocas was assisted by four additional civilian tugboats—the Mangilao, the Goliath, the Quipuha, and the Talofofo, as she maneuvered away from the wharf and began her transit to the entrance of the harbor and open ocean.

Richland was built in late 1943 by the Chicago Building & Iron Co., Eureka, Calif., and put into U.S. Navy commission in 1944. She was first towed to Pearl Harbor, then to Eniwetok and Ulithi Atolls before making her way to San Pedro Bay in the Philippines for working on U.S. and Allied ships involved in the closing stages of World War II. It was reclassified as Medium Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock (AFDM)-8 in 1946, and renamed Richland in 1968 when it came to NBG. (PR)

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