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Historic USS Stephen W. Groves makes her final journey to Brownsville, Texas.

Jack Arksey

USS Stephen W. Groves
USS Stephen W. Groves

USS Stephen W. Groves has completed her final journey to International Shipbreakings specialist facility in Brownsville, Texas (part of EMR Metal Recycling) where she will be dismantled and 98% of recovered materials recycled.

The USS Stephen W. Groves has been moored at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard since having been decommissioned in 2012. She made her final journey to the International Shipbreaking at the Port of Brownsville where she arrived 19 November 2020.

Armed with one MK 75 76mm/62 caliber firing gun, MK 32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts) and one Phalanx CIWS for anti-submarine warfare, she boasted 1-MK 13 Mod 4 launcher, 4-SSM McDonnell-Douglas Harpoon missiles and 36-GDC-Pomona Standard SM-1MR missiles. The guided missile frigate also had 1 OTO Melara MK 75 3"/62 cal., 1 Vulcan Phalanx CIS and 4-.50 cal. MGs guns.

During her 30-year career, USS Stephen W. Groves largely supported during tensions in the Middle East. On her maiden voyage in 1983, Groves was sent to Beirut as part of the US response to the Lebanese Civil War. There she assisted US Marines who had been stationed at the airport, following an attack on the American and French barracks in October of the same year. During this operation, she was assigned to protect the USS New Jersey during her attacks on targets in the Baqaa Valley. Notably, Groves also monitored Yasser Arafat’s movement from Lebanon to Cyprus allowing his safe passage into exile. Later in her career, she took part in anti-narcotics patrols in the Eastern Pacific where she captured a drug smuggling operation carrying 1.5 tonnes of cocaine. Her final deployment saw her intercept Taiwanese vessel, Jih Chun Tsai 68, which had been hijacked by Somalian pirates.

Chris Green, Senior Manager at International Shipbreaking Ltd LLC, said:

“We have a long history of respectfully recycling military vessels. The USS Stephen W. Groves is the sixth US Navy vessel that we have had the joy of welcoming to our Brownsville site this year. We would like to thank the Port of Brownsville Commissioners, Administration, Harbormaster and Brazos Santiago Pilots for your support in safely completing these ship movements.

“All preparations have been made to ensure that Groves is stripped and recycled in an environmentally conscious way. The specialised facilities that we have at our site mean that we will be able to recycle 98% of this historic vessel.”

This project is set for completion in early 2021