USTS Empire State V (USS Barrett)

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The USTS Empire State V was a United States Training Ship for the United States Maritime Service. She was originally laid down under the name SS President Jackson on the first of June in 1949. She was launched June 27, 1950, and later also served under the name USS Barrett (T-AP-196).

She was originally designed as a troop transport ship that was five hundred and thirty four feet long and had a beam of seventy three feet, boasting a Single Screw propulsion system. She could carry a complement of 410 officers, and 1,750 enlisted men.

Service in the Navy

It is commonplace for a ship that has served in active duty to be converted to a vessel for the sake of training maritime students. The predecessor of the Empire State V was the Empire State IV, which was previously known as the USNS Henry Gibbins (T AP 183). The vessels are used in the New York Maritime Academy and named as such due to the fact that New York is commonly referred to as the Empire State.

After 23 years of service as a troop ship, the Empire State V was struck from the Naval record on July 1, 1973.  Following this, she was converted for the State University of New York Maritime College in 1973 into a training ship and served in this capacity until 1990. At this time, she was replaced by the USTS Empire State VI.

After the ship finished serving in the New York Maritime Service, she was relocated to the service’s “Ghost Fleet” at James River. Ships in these fleets are available for non military and military emergencies alike. The regional locations of thee other Fleets are Beaumont, Texas for the Gulf Coast; Suisun Bay, California for the West Coast; and as mentioned, James River, Virginia, for East Coast fleets.

After Service

In June of 2007, the Empire State V was sold for scrap. The contract was awarded to Bay Bridge ENT of Chesapeake Virginia to dispose of the ship via recycling. The replacement for the Empire State V was a 17,000 ton, 565 foot training ship sequentially named the Empire State VI. To this date she is the best training ship in the nation. She is the best equipped training ship and visits a number of foreign ports each summer of every year.

Asbestos in Navy Ships

Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.

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