Photo by Ashley Cowan

Historic Barge Departs NNS

Published June 2, 2021

Shipbuilders said goodbye to the historical Surface Ship Support Barge (SSSB) on April 18.

The barge supported nuclear refueling and defueling at Newport News Shipbuilding for more than 50 years. Past customers include: Long Beach (CGN 9), Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

Don Marrow (E82) helped discover early processes for SSSB. “My role was to write procedures and tech manuals for SSSB,” he said. “It has an interesting history.”

The SSSB started its life as the mid-body section of the SS Cantigny, an oil tanker built during World War II. While at NNS, the SSSB remained in Dry Dock 10. Shipbuilders stowed the barge in Dry Dock 2 from 2016 to 2021 for inactivation work.

Jim Calabrese (X72), deputy program manager of aircraft carrier and submarine inactivations, said SSSB’s recent inactivation and tow required teamwork for success. “This evolution helps pave the way for Nimitz-class inactivation and disposal operations,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet closure to a historic chapter for the Naval Nuclear Power Program. We’ve said farewell to an old trusted friend that served us well.”

A new facility replaced the SSSB to support refueling and defueling aircraft carriers. A federal contractor is responsible for dismantling and disposing the SSSB.