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The Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which closed in 1997, was located at Terminal Island between the city of Long Beach and the San Pedro district of Los Angeles and approximately 23 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport.
The Long Beach NSY industrial area encompassed 119 acres (48 ha) of the total 214 acres (87 ha) owned. There were 120 permanent, 39 semi-permanent, and 6 temporary buildings, for a total of 165 buildings. There were 17 different shop work areas and 2,400,000 square feet (220,000 m2) of covered building space. The shipyard had three graving docks, and five industrial piers. There were 12,307 feet (3,751 m) feet (3.8 km) of ship berthing space. Crane capacity ranged from 25 short tons (23 t) to 67 short tons (61 t) (portal) and from 25 short tons (23 t) to 112 short tons (102 t) (floating).
During World War II, the naval dry docks provided routine and battle damage repairs to a parade of tankers, cargo ships, troop transports, destroyers, and cruisers. Peak employment of 16,091 civilian employees was reached in August 1945.
On February 9, 1943, the Secretary of the Navy established the facilities as the US Naval Dry Docks, Roosevelt Base, California. The name of this facility was changed to Terminal Island Naval Shipyard on November 30, 1945. The name became Long Beach Naval Shipyard (NSY) in March 1948.
The Long Beach NSY was equipped with facilities and skills to perform all non-nuclear structural, sheet metal, boiler, rigging, electronics, electrical, insulating, lagging, ordnance, sandblasting, welding, machining, woodworking, painting, pipe fitting, and other work pertaining to the overhaul and repair of surface ships. The shipyard possessed complete design, engineering, combat systems, quality assurance, planning and public works capabilities to support its industrial work. Dry dock No. 1 was designated the West Coast nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) emergency dry dock.
The Long Beach NSY was placed in an inactive status on June 1, 1950. The Korean War began less than one month later. Reactivation of the shipyard was directed on January 4, 1951.
Through the years the shipyard accomplished several special projects in addition to its primary mission. These included support or scientific projects in conjunction with programs like POLARIS, POSEIDON, and SEALAB.
The naval shipyard was ordered to be closed in 1995 by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC), and closure was complete on 30 September 1997. By 2004, 72% of the land had been turned over to the City of Long Beach by the military.
In 1997, COSCO (The China Ocean Shipping Company) wanted to lease the space from the City, including building a $400 million cargo terminal. It was opposed by Rush Limbaugh and the Audubon Society, to name a few, and was being reviewed for national security by The Pentagon.
After review by the DoD and CIA, the lease went through, at an agreed-upon payment of $14.5 million per year from the Chinese, with renewal scheduled after ten years. However, continued controversy and opposition by Republican lawmakers caused cancellation of the lease, and the new cargo terminal, which was in fact built by the Long Beach Harbor Department (Port of Long Beach), was leased to the Hanjin Shipping Company, a South Korean firm, which continues to be the terminal's primary customer and major partner.