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USS Salem takes a short tow to a new berth

August 03, 2017 | Website

In just a few hours the morning of Aug. 3, the Quincy-built heavy cruiser was moved from one Fore River Shipyard pier to another. Now a city museum and tourist attraction, the Salem was launched at the shipyard in 1947.

QUINCY -- With the blasts of tugboat horns and the salutes of a handful of former crew members, the USS Salem left its longtime Fore River Shipyard berth Thursday morning and was guided to a new one.

The Quincy-built heavy cruiser’s 500-yard move came 70 years after the ship was launched there in 1947. The move was years in the making, and took just four hours from the start until the tug crew tied the last docking line shortly before 9 a.m.

Now one of the city’s tourist attractions, the Salem is the last such heavy cruiser still afloat and on display. All the others have been scrapped. The Salem had been berthed at the former shipyard’s northernmost pier since 1994, when it was towed from the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Construction company owner Jay Cashman, who owns most of the shipyard, moved the Salem from the third pier because the original pier had developed structural problems and was less stable.

The ship was scheduled to be moved in January, after the Quincy conservation commission approved the action, but Cashman encountered several delays, including conflicts related to his firm’s construction work.

In a prepared statement, Cashman said it took a year for electrical, water, sewer and fire alarm services to be installed, and for other preparation at the Salem’s new site.

Michael Condon, the executive director of the ship’s owner, the U.S. Naval and Shipbuilding Museum, said the ship should be open again for visitors in a few days, during the week of Aug. 7. Cashman said a formal re-opening will be held in the coming months.