WASHINGTON (WAVY) - The Navy announced Thursday that the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) will now be homeported at Naval Station Everett, Wash.
The ship arrived Thursday morning at Bremerton from San Diego to begin a year of maintenance work at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Upon completion of that work, scheduled for December 2011, the Nimitz will call Washington its permanent home. The ship was based at Bremerton from 1987 to 1997. It's been at San Diego since 2001.
According to officials, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus decided to homeport Nimitz in Everett following the departure of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in early fiscal 2012 for a four-year refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) in Newport News, Va.
The Abraham Lincoln left Everett in September for a routine deployment to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.
The Navy says its decision to homeport Nimitz in Everett ensures long-term strategic dispersal of aircraft carriers on the West Coast and yields estimated cost savings and avoidance totaling more than $100 million.
"Many factors were considered here, including the quality of life for our sailors and their families, and the considerable cost savings to the American taxpayers," said Mabus in a released statement. "Maintaining a carrier in Everett will ensure long-term strategic dispersal and operational readiness of our fleet which is critical to our national security."
The first in its class of 10 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, Nimitz was commissioned May 3, 1975. With a planned 50-year service life expectancy, Nimitz conducted a RCOH in Newport News 1998 to 2001.
The ship is commanded by Capt. Paul O. Monger.