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Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY)
Portsmouth, Virginia

The Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) is the oldest shipyard in the United States devoted exclusively to ship repair and overhaul dating to 1767. The shipyard is located in the tidewater region of southeastern Virginia along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and Paradise Creek, near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The mission of Norfolk Naval Shipyard is to: Provide logistic support for assigned ships and service craft; Perform work in connection with conversion, overhaul, repair, alteration, dry-docking, and outfitting of ships and craft; Perform manufacturing, research, development and test work; and Provide services and material to other activities and units. In short, the shipyard exists to support the fleet in any manner directed. With its seven dry-docks, the shipyard can accommodate any ship in the fleet. State-of-the-art technology provides capability to service nuclear as well as conventional ships of all sizes and types, from tugboats to submarines to aircraft carriers.

On a typical day, shipyard employees can be found working on over 15% of the Navy's active fleet. The shipyard population consists of approximately 6,750 civilian employees and permanent military personnel. The crews of ships undergoing work at the shipyard can result in up to an additional 8,000 people on site at any given time. Through Interservice Support Agreements, the shipyard also provides environmental support to some 36 tenant commands with a total population of approximately 1,722 people. The shipyard also is home to personnel supporting military regional maintenance work centers such as the electric motor rewind facility.

NNSY is located within 1 mile of Portsmouth Naval Hospital, 2 miles from government housing, 12 nautical miles from Naval Station Norfolk, and 20.2 nautical miles from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. The shipyard is close to the headquarters for all 3 Type commanders and CINCLANTFLT, as well as our various customers in Washington, D.C. Major customers of Norfolk NSY within a 100-mile radius are COMNAVAIRLANT, COMNAVSURFLANT, COMSUBLANT, Readiness Support Group Atlantic, COMNAVPHIBLANT, CINCLANTFLT, PWC Norfolk, DGSC Richmond.

The Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth is located on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River approximately 8 nmi south-southeast of Naval Station, Norfolk. The shipyard is located in the southeastern part of Virginia known as Hampton Roads. The shipyard is composed of several noncontiguous areas totaling 1,275 acres, of which the basic industrial area is 498 acres (179 acres in the Controlled Industrial Area). The three non-contiguous parcels of land are identified as the main shipyard made up of a controlled industrial area and a non-controlled industrial area and special use areas or annexes including Scott Center Annex, South Gate Annex, and St. Helena Annex. There are 17 production shops located in 69 production shop buildings for a total of over 3.6M SF. Total facility value including the annexes exceeds $2.0B.

The NNSY is located on relatively flat land, approximately 3 m above mean sea level. Surface runoff and shallow groundwater flow from higher site areas into Paradise Creek and the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. The water table is 1.5 m to 0.3 m below ground surface (bgs). Mean tidal range at the site is approximately 1 m

It is the best protected of the Navy installations in the Hampton Roads area, and is considered by local authorities to be a haven for smaller vessels (submarines and smaller, and ships with small sail areas) when a hurricane threatens the Norfolk area. Although it is recommended that all aircraft carriers sortie and evade any threatening tropical cyclone at sea, an aircraft carrier in need of safe haven, such as one that would be unable to sortie due to mechanical problems, would be moored at Berth 42. Pier 6 can safely accommodate a Wasp class ship, such as the USS Kearsarge. However, if offsetting winds were forecast, the maximum safe velocity for a vessel moored at Pier 6 is 32 kt.

Like many of the facilities in the area, the piers at the Naval Shipyard are in various states of repair. The integrity of bollards and cleats was unknown at the time of a March 1998 port visit, but they were in the process of being weight certified at that time. All dry docks except 6 and 7 are certified by NAVSEA and NAVFAC. Certification is applicable only to certain size ships; if the dock can accommodate a specific size vessel, it is certified for that vessel.

Berths 1, 2, 7, 8, 11 and 12 are convenience berths on the Elizabeth River, and have substandard cleats and bollards. The area from Berth 43 to Pier 3 is inside the Controlled Industrial Area (CIA) and considered to be unsafe during strong winds. The piers are constructed of concrete over driven wooden pilings and have unknown structural integrity. Piers 11 and 12 have been condemned and will be rebuilt. No estimated completion date was available as of a March 1998 port visit.

The end of FY94 civilian work force totaled 7,563 with an annual payroll of $409M. The 150 military personnel had a payroll totaling $7M.

In 1767 Andrew Sprowle, a merchant shipbuilder, purchased land on the western shore of the Elizabeth River and established the Gosport Shipyard under the British flag. The shipyard developed and prospered as both a naval and merchant shipyard. When the American Revolution began in 1775, Sprowle chose to remain loyal to the Crown and fled the area aboard the Royal Governor's flagship. All his properties were confiscated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. While being operated by Virginia, the shipyard was subsequently burned by the British in 1779.

In 1794, Congress passed "An Act to Provide a Naval Armament" and the Gosport Shipyard was leased from the State of Virginia by the Federal Government. In 1798, Congress created the US Navy Department. Gosport Shipyard, laid the keel of the frigate CHESAPEAKE, and launched it in 1799.

In 1801, for $12,000, the federal government purchased the shipyard from the Commonwealth of Virginia. This tract of land contained 16 acres in the northeast corner of the present shipyard. Congress passed an act for the gradual improvement of the Navy in 1827, and construction on one of the first two dry docks in the United States began at Gosport. Then in 1845, the tract of land on the eastern side of Elizabeth River, known as St Helena, was purchased for storage and repair.

When Virginia joined the Confederate States, war seemed imminent in April 1861. The shipyard commander ordered the burning of the shipyard and the Confederacy then took over the shipyard. The shipyard was burned again in May 1862 by departing confederate forces. It was rebuilt following the war, but no major expansion occurred until World War I.

During World War I, the Norfolk Navy Yard was greatly expanded. Dry docks 4, 6 and 7, begun in 1917-1919, were completed in 1919, and many new shop facilities were added. Employment reached its peak in February 1919, attaining the record figure of 11,234, as compared with 2,718 workers in June 1914. To accommodate the hundreds of yard workers and their families, many of whom had migrated from distant places, two war-housing projects, Cradock and Truxton, were built on the outskirts of Portsmouth. Numerous vessels were repaired, converted, and fitted-out, and four destroyers were built: the CRAVEN, launched in 1918; and the HULBERT, NOA, and WM. B. PRESTON, launched in 1919. A battleship of 43,200 tons, the USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-52) was constructed at the yard, and although more than a third completed, this ship, more powerful than any then possessed by the fleet, was scrapped in 1923 as a result of the Washington Naval Limitation Treaty. During the years 1919 to 1922 the yard converted the collier JUPITER into the U.S. Navy's first aircraft carrier, the USS LANGLEY.

From 11,234 in 1919, employment in the yard dropped to 2,538 by the end of 1923, less than it had been in 1914. During the twenties and early thirties no new ships were built and little improvement was made to the yard itself. But the long naval holiday and economic depression were alleviated by a battleship modernization program which began in 1925. Six of the fleet's older battleships were modernized at the Norfolk Navy Yard: the TEXAS in 1925-26, the NEW YORK in 1926-27, the NEVADA in 1927-29, the ARIZONA in 1929-31, the MISSISSIPPI in 1931-33, and the IDAHO in 1931-34. In the spring of 1933, Navy Yard employees, along with other government workers, were given a 15 percent cut in pay in a last-ditch economy move against the depression, while apprehension over lay-offs plagued the community.

The crisis was reached and relieved in July 1933, however, with the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act, which included a naval construction program. From this and succeeding programs, the yard was allotted a total of nine destroyers, built and launched during the years 1934-1939. With its battleship modernization program, yard employment had risen by the end of 1932 to 3,819, but, with a work-load of nine destroyers, there began a steady climb in employment which reached a total of 7,625 by September 1, 1939, the day World War II began in Europe.

The part played by the Norfolk Naval Yard in World War II, its services to the U.S. Fleet and to ships of many allied navies, its expansion in size and development of shipyard facilities surpassed to an incredible degree the experience of this yard in any former war.

From January 1, 1940, four months after the outbreak of war in Europe, to the end of the war with Japan, on September 2, 1945, a period of five years and eight months, the yard repaired, altered, converted, or otherwise accomplished work on 6,850 naval vessels, aggregating more than 27 million tons. At the same time, 101 new ships and landing craft were built for the fleet, and millions of dollars worth of manufactured products were turned out for the forces afloat and for other naval establishments. The yard's productive work in World War II reached the staggering total of well over one billion dollars.

To accomplish its huge and difficult task, the yard more than doubled its physical size and increased its productive capacity many fold. The size of the reservation expanded from 352.76 acres to 746.88 acres with nearly four and a quarter miles of waterfront. A drydock 1,100 feet in length, capable of taking the largest ship afloat, was constructed, and 685 new buildings, both permanent and temporary, were erected, while the dollar value of the plant increased from 42 million to nearly 136 million.

At the period of its heaviest work load, the yard's manpower requirements were more than five and a half times greater than they were at the beginning of the war in Europe, when the payroll listed 7,625 names. This was pushed to 42,893 in February 1943, the peak for World War II. This was nearly four times the maximum employment of World War I. Portsmouth and the entire local area were hard-pressed to accommodate the thousands of civilian workers and naval personnel concentrated here with their families from almost all of the 48 states. Housing facilities in the community, hopelessly inadequate, were supplemented on the Portsmouth side of the river by the construction of no less than 45 public and private war-housing projects, totaling 16,487 family units.

Including the nine destroyers constructed in 1934-39, the yard built and launched 30 major vessels during the World War II period. This number , however, does not include 20 LSTs of 3,776 tons each and many other smaller craft built during this period. The DOWNES, LANGLEY, TUCKER, BLUE, ROWAN, FECHTELER, OSPREY, and NOA, in addition to four LSTs also built here, were lost during the War.

With the closure of World War II the shipyard resumed a peace-time status when its activity and personnel were substantially reduced. Indicative of the shipyard's record of efficiency and strategic importance, however, the working force did not fall below 9,025, a figure reached in March 1950.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, in June 1950, the rebuilding of our national defenses began. The shipyard was again assigned a heavy work load and operated under war-time conditions. During the three-year period of fighting in Korea the shipyard completed repairs or other work on more than 1,250 naval vessels and in addition built two new vessels, USS BOLD and USS BULWARK, non-magnetic minesweepers of laminated wood construction. The working force was expanded far beyond the World War I figure and reached a peak of 16,100 employees in July 1952. With the cessation of fighting in Korea the work load was reduced, and by December 1953 the total number of employees had dropped to 14,158, and by August 1956 to 12,600. Employment fell off to a low of 9,100 in early 1965.

The Chesapeake Bay is the Nation's largest and most productive estuary. The economic, commercial, and recreational values of the Bay are threatened, however, by pollution entering it from its major tributaries. Because of the sensitivity of the Chesapeake Bay, the shipyard strives to achieve environmental leadership in reducing the pollutant load to this productive estuary.

Activities conducted at the shipyard include metal forming, repair and installation of mechanical and electrical equipment, metal fabrication, metal plating, and painting operations. Industrial shops at NNSY generate a wide variety of industrial wastes, often in large quantities. Wastes generated include scrap metal; waste oils such as hydraulic oils, cutting oils, and oils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); spent cleaners and solvents; paint and paint sludges; thinners; residues from sandblasting; asbestos; battery electrolytes; plating wastes; and solutions from cleaning boilers.

In the past, wastes generated at NNSY by waterfront maintenance of naval vessels frequently were either dumped overboard or onto the ground. Historically, waste disposal areas at NNSY were located in the southern portion of the shipyard. As the shipyard grew, land disposal areas gradually were located farther to the south, until such areas became concentrated in their current locations. Space limitations have prevented large-scale waste disposal in other areas of the facility. Wastes that have been landfilled at NNSY include spent blasting grit, sludge from the IWTP, and fly and bottom ash.

Before the shipyard began using the industrial waste treatment plant ('IWTP') in 1979, numerous industrial wastes generated in shops or by waterfront maintenance of naval vessels frequently reached storm drains. The storm sewer system drains all areas of the shipyard, independent of the sanitary sewer system, and discharges without treatment to the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and Paradise Creek at various locations. Other industrial wastes that were not suitable for reuse or reclamation were disposed on site. Historically, solid waste disposal areas were located in the southern portion of the shipyard, and became concentrated along Paradise Creek, i.e., Scott Center Landfill, Sanitary Landfill, Chemical Waste Pits, Hydraulic Fill Area, Bermed Chemical Disposal Area, and Acetylene Waste Lagoon. Solid wastes included spent blasting grit, sludge from the IWTP, and fly and bottom ash.

Today Norfolk Naval Shipyard provides repair/modernization to the entire range of naval ships including aircraft carriers, submarines, guided missile cruisers and amphibians. Norfolk is the oldest continuously operated shipyard in the United States and the only east coast naval shipyard capable of dry docking nuclear aircraft carriers. Norfolk Naval Shipyard continues its history of leadership by its newest role as a partner in the Regional Maintenance Concept which efficiently consolidates the shipyard's resources of skilled mechanics and production facilities and equipment with those of the military personnel and ships forces of the US Atlantic Fleet. Functions currently undergoing this regional transformation include motor rewind, pump repair, and laboratories.

Major employers in the area include Newport News Shipbuilding, Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.

Shop 11 fabricates, assembles and erects all structural parts of a ship, coordinates all fixed tank work performed on submarines and ships, and coordinates all sonar dome work. Shop 11 has a mold loft and heavy machinery such as plate planners, shears, punches, drill presses, bending rolls, bending slabs, furnaces, plate beveler, saws, presses up to 750 tons, angle roll (vertical and horizontal), and aluminum true-cut saw capacity 6 inches thick. Conveyors are used extensively to move plates from the layout shed to the various machines inside the shop. Shop 11 is responsible for hydro and air testing of tanks and compartments and is the cognizant shop for chipping and caulking, grinding, drilling, huck riveting and steaming Mogas piping and tanks safe for hot work.

Shop 11F is equipped to do all types of forging. It has hydraulic presses up to 2,000 tons capacity, drop hammers, stress-relieving furnaces, and heat-treating facilities. In addition to forging, this shop cleans anchor chains and straightens propeller blades.

Shop 17 works in metal up to 1/4" thick. It makes and installs duct work, bins, shelving, bulkheads, weather protection, galley equipment, etc. on ships. Shop 17 is also equipped to build a large variety of metal furniture.

Shop 26 does all of the welding for the production shops and, in addition, does metal-spraying and flame-cutting.

Shop 31 is a 536,400 square foot facility supporting all aspects of assembly, inspection, and machining, with secondary support for welding, non-destructive testing, and electroplating under one roof. Overhead clearance in our high bay area is over 80 feet. There are over 270 machine tools ranging from bench-top to the extra large "mammoth tools" to accommodate any size work. With over 90 cranes and a maximum lift capacity of 80 tons, combined with rail and waterfront access, virtually any product can be received, repaired/manufactured and shipped directly from our location.

Shop 31 has an extensive array of CNC machinery with an average age of under 2 years. The Shop layout has recently been improved to expand our use of manufacturing cells: Prismatic, Mixed, Turn, Electrical Discharge Machines, Mid Size and Boring Cells are all fully equipped with many special features such as indexable lathe chucks, additional rotary axis, programmable facing heads, tool probing, live tooling, and tilting tables. We have introduced a new Factory Floor Integration System which provides all forms of digital data (ASCII, Raster, and Vector) directly on the shop floor for viewing. The DNC module automatically routes NC tape files to the machine tools required for the job. Our native CAD/CAM system, Intergraph, provides realistic checking of tool paths, placement of modular fixturing components, and extensive machine control capibilities directly from the 3-D models. We can work from digital or paper drawings, and maintain translators for DXF or IGES formats. We also offer inspection and reverse engineering services through the use of our Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) which is part of our DNC network, and can provide any level of documentation desired. The system is flexible enough for prototype or small lot orders and provides us the opportunity to discount repetitive and volume work.

Shop 38 makes repairs to and installs ordnance and steam engineering components on board ship. This includes work on guns, gun directors, catapults, arresting gear, engines, steering, deck edge and weapons elevators as well as main propulsion plant, shafting, propellers, rudders, generators, pumps, and auxiliary equipment. Their Optical Section performs optical alignment on shafting, masts, and other equipment. The Diesel Engine Section is capable of repairing diesel engines used in small boats and diesel generators. The automatic combustion control section removes, installs, and overhauls all types of combustion controls. Several of the employees of shop are qualified divers.

Shop 41 builds and repairs all types of boilers, pressure vessels, uptakes, smoke pipes, tanks, and gratings and does many other miscellaneous metal-forming jobs.

Shop 51 repairs, tests, and installs electrical and electronic equipment of a great variety. It is equipped to rewind motors and generators.

Shop 56 prefabricates new piping, repairs piping sections, tests heat exchangers, air flasks, EB couplings, and etc. Shop 56 also prefabricates and repairs wave guide and repairs mercury gages. The Refrigeration Section repairs and installs shipboard refrigeration and air conditioning.

Shop 64 consists of joiners, shipwrights, millmen, saw filers, and wood caulkers. It has a band mill capable of resawing timbers up to 42 inches thick and 64 feet in length; a lathe capable of turning spars up to 32 inches in diameter and 60 feet in length; a dry kiln; and a wood preservative impregnating facility. It applies deck coverings of tile or composition.

Shop 67 repairs and maintains electronics equipment including radio, radar, sonar, LORAN, and cryptographic equipment. It is responsible for the fire control and weapons system functions of the shipyard. It is also responsible for repair of SINS (Ships Inertial Navigation System), gyrocompasses, and their auxiliary equipment.

Shop 71 abrasive blasts ship's hulls and does all manner of painting on board ships. It applies deck covering of cement.

Shop 72 provides rigger and laborer services throughout the shipyard. It has a loft where a variety of items made of rope or wire rope are manufactured. The Sail Loft division of the Rigger Shop works in canvas, leather, and other fabrics. It does upholstery work and sterilizes mattresses and gas masks.

Shop 99 provides temporary service to the ships. These include fresh and salt water, steam, air, electrical power, telephone service, sewage disposal, heating and air conditioning equipment for temporary climate control of ships spaces. Shop 99 personnel also provide gas monitoring services for ships and barges.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to consolidate Navy Region Northeast, New London, CT, with Navy Region, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, VA. DoD recommended to relocate New London's intermediate submarine repair function to both the Shore Intermediate Repair Activity Norfolk, at Naval Shipyard Norfolk and Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay, GA. The intermediate submarine repair function would be relocated to Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity Norfolk ain support of the relocating submarines from New London that would be relocated to the Naval Station at Norfolk. Norfolk Shipyard was in Maintenance for Ozone (1-Hour) and Marginal Non-attainment for Ozone (8-Hour). An Air Conformity Determination might be required. There would be potential impacts for dredging; marine mammals, resources, or sanctuaries; threatened and endangered species; and water resources.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close the Naval Shipyard Portsmouth, Kittery, ME. As a result, it recommended to relocate Portsmouth's ship depot repair function to Naval Shipyard Norfolk and two other naval stations. It also recommended to relocate the Submarine Maintenance, Engineering, Planning and Procurement Command to Norfolk Shipyard. This recommendation would retain one nuclear-capable shipyard on each coast, plus sufficient shipyard capacity to support forward deployed assets. The environmental concerns with this recommendation are identical to those mentioned in the previous recommendation.

DoD also recommended to close Naval Facilities Engineering Field Activity Northeast leased space in Lester, PA. As a result, DoD would consolidate Naval Facilities Engineering Field Activity Northeast, Philadelphia, PA, with Naval Facilities Atlantic, Norfolk, VA at Naval Station Norfolk, VA and relocate Navy Crane Center Lester, PA, to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Norfolk, VA. DoD claimed that this recommendation would relocate the Navy Crane Center to a site with functional synergy. Environmentally, Naval Shipyard Norfolk was in Maintenance for Ozone (1-Hour) and Marginal Non- Attainment for Ozone (8-Hour), but an Air Conformity Determination would not be required. Water Resources would be impacted as a result of this recommendation.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Ship Intermediate Maintenance Activity (SIMA) Norfolk, VA, by relocating intermediate ship maintenance function to Naval Shipyard Norfolk, VA. This recommendation would support capacity reduction at the SIMA Norfolk, VA, and reduces excess ship repair capacity. This consolidation would match the ship maintenance infrastructure at the other major Fleet concentrations where depot and intermediate level activities are collocated. This consolidation would lead to synergy and efficiency in ship maintenance. This recommendation assumed that Norfolk Naval Shipyard would become a Direct or Mission Funded activity.

The total estimated one-time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $10.6M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a savings of $26.8M. Annual recurring savings to the Department after implementation would be $8.2M with a payback expected in one year. The net present value of the costs and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a savings of $104.3M. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 209 jobs (95 direct jobs and 114 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area (less than 0.1 percent).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:54:26 ZULU