The Navy celebrated an early milestone in its largest construction project to date – Dry Dock 5 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) – at an Anchoring Ceremony Feb. 24, 2024.

The ceremony marked the installation of foundational piles, crucial for anchoring the new $3.4-billion graving dock, the first built in Pearl Harbor since 1943. Dry Dock 5 is designed for a 150-year service life and will replace Dry Dock 3, which is incapable of docking current Virginia-class Navy submarines.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, Adm. Samuel Paparo, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Gerry Majkut, president of Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., were featured speakers at the ceremony, held at the construction site. Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Ed Case and Rep. Jill Tokuda, all of whom represent Hawaii, also attended the ceremony.

The new dry dock is integral to the Navy’s commitment to maintaining and modernizing U.S. Navy vessels for generations to come, but not without its people, said Paparo.

“While we celebrate the driving of the piling and while we commemorate the work that’s done on the facility, lest we forget the real system here at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and it is the heroic shipyard workers and the engineers and all of the team that look after our nation’s security in the maritime profession,” said Paparo. “Its people serve in the spirit of their WWII forbearers,” said Paparo. “Their innovation, attention to detail, grit – they are unmatched and will continue to keep the fleet Fit to Fight.

Hirono stressed the importance of the project to the U.S. Navy, and Hawaii.

“Dry Dock 5 will provide much needed capability for efficient maintenance upgrades and repairs so that our combat capable submarines can remain combat ready,” said Hirono. “This is truly the first time that we recognize how important it is to have shipyards that are modern and efficient so our shipyard workers can do the jobs that we ask of them. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is a key piece of our military infrastructure in the Pacific and we all know they are the largest industrial employer in Hawaii.”

To oversee the project, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command commissioned its newest command, Officer in Charge of Construction, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (OICC PHNSY), in March 2023. OICC PHNSY provides quality assurance, contract administration, and command-level accountability for the construction of DD5 and the broader recapitalization of PHNSY under the Navy’s SIOP.

“I am extremely proud of the SIOP team and our strong relationships with the shipyards and our many stakeholders,” said Capt. Luke Greene, SIOP Program Manager, at the ceremony. “This project will support the shipyard workforce in their mission to keep the Fleet ‘Fit to Fight.’ SIOP delivers the foundation of Navy readiness through dry dock construction, optimized facilities, and modern equipment at the Navy’s shipyards. Pearl Harbor and the Fleet require projects like Dry Dock 5 and we will continue to execute our mission with urgency.”

OICC PHNSY Commanding Officer Capt. Stephen Padhi led the ceremony, crediting the teamwork involved in such a large-scale project.
“Today’s ceremony recognizes the significance of this project; the efforts of the project team to date; and the extensive partnership of government, industry, and stakeholders that make it possible,” said Padhi.

Construction contractor Dragados/Hawaiian Dredging/Orion JV (DHO JV) expressed excitement about the opportunity to work on such a significant project with the Navy.

“We’re extremely excited to work on a project of this scale with the U.S. Navy,” said Majkut. “Not many companies get the chance to be part of a major project like this, so having the opportunity to build this dry dock is extremely rewarding.”

The ceremony finale featured Hirono, Paparo and a DHO JV representative pressing a symbolic button to drive the last pile of the initial grouping. Those in attendance watched as DHO JV used a vibratory hammer with a force of 554 tons to begin the drive of the 75-foot, 85-inch diameter pile segment into future Dry Dock 5’s foundation, signifying the milestone event.

After the ceremony, participants had the opportunity to commemorate their support by signing piles scheduled to be installed in the dry dock.

PHNSY & IMF Commander Capt. Richard Jones, however, added more than his signature.

“Dry Dock 5 will carry the shipyard well into the next century, enabling our Shipyard ‘Ohana to fulfill the mission of keeping our Fleet ‘Fit to Fight’ for generations to come,” he wrote.