Navy planning to use Indian Island for submarine maintenance

INDIAN ISLAND — Naval officials plan to convert Indian Island Naval Magazine’s ammunition wharf into a maintenance site for nuclear-powered submarines.

Those subs, which would be carrying conventional weapons, could cruise into Port Townsend Bay as early as February.

Projecting that Naval Base Kitsap Bangor’s piers could be full in 2006, the Navy wants to use the Indian Island wharf as a backup facility, officials said.

Submarines are planned to enter Port Townsend Bay at least once a year.

“NavMag Indian Island is the only alternative location in the Puget Sound region capable of supporting submarine cruise missile and torpedo loading and storage operations,” a Navy public notice states.

“The Navy in the Puget Sound region has an urgent need for an alternative location for submarine ordnance loading operations.”

To accommodate that need, the Navy plans to modify the Indian Island ammunition wharf to install a substation with power mounds on the pier and on the shoreline, and the small craft pier will be extended to provide berthing for two tugboats used to maneuver the 560-foot submarines.

Work is tentatively scheduled to begin in December and could be complete as early as February, Navy officials said.

“There is not really a whole lot that is going to be done,” said Navy Region Northwest spokeswoman Sheila Murray.

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