New covered dry dock had role in Cold War

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Bay Ship & Yacht Co., a California-based service, refit and new-construction yard for superyachts and commercial vessels, expanded its capacity and capabilities with a new covered dry dock that accommodates vessels with a maximum beam of 76 feet and displacing up to 6,300 long tons.

This new facility on San Francisco Bay is the only dry dock on the West Coast to be fully enclosed by a retractable roof, according to the company. It is a conversion of the submersible Hughes mining barge (HMB-1), which played a role in a covert Cold War operation.

According to declassified CIA documents, the HMB-1 was built in the 1970s by the U.S. Navy as part of Project Azorian, a top-secret plan to salvage the Soviet submarine K-129, which sank in the Pacific while reportedly carrying three nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

After Project Azorian’s successful conclusion, the HMB-1 was transferred to Lockheed Martin, where it became a floating dry dock for the Navy’s experimental 164-foot SWATH vessel Sea Shadow, a test bed for stealth technology.

The new dry dock offers Bay Ship & Yacht clients a covered environment for commercial ship and superyacht service, repair and refit projects.

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