The Blue Origin ship Jacklyn that has dominated the Pensacola skyline for the past three years is missing.
On Sunday, the ship was towed from its berth at the Port of Pensacola for possibly its final voyage. The vessel is tentatively scheduled to head to Brownsville, Texas, where the vessel may be scrapped, according to the Port of Pensacola.
The former 600ft freighter has been moored at the Port of Pensacola since 2018 and is undergoing a refurbishment by the Pensacola Offshore Inland Company. The upgrade was to allow the ship to serve as a landing pad for the first stage of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket.
In April, Blue Origin confirmed to the News Journal in April that the company was considering “different options” for landing and recovering its rockets.
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Blue Origin is the rocket company started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The company has launched four manned missions into space aboard its New Shepard rocket, the most famous of which sent actor William Shatner into space last year.
Bezos traveled to Pensacola in December 2020 to rename the ship, Jacklyn, after his mother.
At Mayor Grover Robinson’s weekly press conference on Monday, Deputy City Administrator Amy Miller said the ship has been in port much longer than originally planned and has brought in three times more revenue to the port than intended.
With the ship’s departure, the port freed up 20% of its berthing space for new ships, Miller said.
The Port of Pensacola posted a video on its Facebook account on Saturday announcing the ship’s departure.
“Many ask why the Jacklyn has been here for so long,” said Pensacola Port Manager Clark Merritt, who narrated the video. “The answer is that Offshore Inland was able to do a significant amount of the work that was previously thought could only be done in a full shipyard. In a nutshell, Pensacola-based Offshore Inland with its workforce highly skilled and capable labor proved them wrong, and tens of millions of dollars of work was done locally by Offshore Inland.”
Between 125 and 150 workers were employed at the height of the Offshore Inland project at the port, Merritt said.
Merritt added that work had progressed too far to convert the ship back into a freighter.
“So eventually she’ll probably be headed for scrap, tentatively slated for one of the yards in Brownsville, Texas,” Merritt said.
On Sunday, harbor tugs worked with a large tug to unmoor the Jacklyn from her port berth and tow her out to the Gulf of Mexico. The single large tug will pull the boat across the gulf to Brownsville, according to Merritt.
“Good winds and good seas Jacklyn. It was a pleasure having you there,” Merritt said.
Jim Little can be reached at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.