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Shutdown postpones Navy destroyer christening

Oct. 11, 2013 - 01:53PM   |  
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BATH, MAINE — The christening ceremony in Maine for a first-in-class warship has been postponed due to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, U.S. Navy officials said Friday.

The ceremony for the future USS Zumwalt, the largest Navy destroyer ever built, was supposed to be held Oct. 19 at Bath Iron Works.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s office said the Zumwalt will be launched on schedule with no public ceremony and an in-water christening will happen later.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement that the shutdown prevents the Navy “from being able to honor Admiral Zumwalt’s memory with a ceremony befitting his and his family’s legacy of service to our nation and our Navy.”

The 610-foot-long ship is named after Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, the country’s 19th Chief of Naval Operations, who died in 2000. The ship which has been under construction since 2009 is the first new destroyer class since the Arleigh Burke launched at Bath Iron Works in 1989.

Pingree said the ceremony’s delay is a disappointment for the men and women at BIW who have been working to prepare its launch.

“This is an inconvenience and a disappointment but is also another example of how the government shutdown is impacting Maine,” she said in a statement. “The shutdown is having a real effect on our economy through layoffs, a decline in tourism, a cutback in small business lending and in countless other ways.”

Navy officials said they’re working with the Zumwalt family and Bath Iron Works to reschedule the ceremony.

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