SOURCE: Brazos-Santiago Pilots of Brownsville

July 13, 2015 12:09 ET

It Was No Ordinary Arrival for the Brazos-Santiago Pilots of Brownsville, Texas

BROWNSVILLE, TX--(Marketwired - Jul 13, 2015) -  The Brazos-Santiago Pilots handle some 600 ship and vessel transits through the Port of Brownsville each year but it's not every day that they get the opportunity to guide a venerable and storied US Navy carrier to its final destination. 

"It's an especially proud honor to be a part of history and to pilot the USS Ranger on the final 15-mile leg of its 16,000 nautical mile voyage to International Shipbreaking of Brownsville," said Captain Grant Wilson, the pilots' presiding officer, who along with Captain Jonathan Willett boarded the carrier. The two pilots, along with Pilot Captain Gene Tuttle, have guided three other warships -- USS Constellation, USS Saratoga and USS Forrestal -- into drydock where all four vessels are being dismantled in a recycling project that is unprecedented in US history.

The pilots boarded the USS Ranger on Sunday after sailing from their South Padre Island dock aboard their 52-foot Gladding Hearn aluminum pilot boat, PILOT VII. "The sail aboard the USS Ranger will take about 6 hours making 4-5 knots under tow," explained Captain Wilson. "Our job is to make sure that the carrier's final pilotage is smooth and otherwise uneventful. As Brazos-Santiago Pilots, we are the only mariners with the knowledge and experience on the waterway and the ability to perform the assignment without incident."

The USS Ranger was featured in movies such as "Top Gun" and "Star Trek IV: The Journey Home." The carrier departed undertow from the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash., on March 5 for its voyage around the Horn of South America to Brownsville.

The Brazos-Santiago Pilots are state licensed Texas pilots chiefly responsible for ensuring the safe transit of ships and vessels through the Port of Brownsville. In Texas, ships entering or departing a state port must take a pilot. The Brownsville pilots are among the 150 members of the Texas State Pilots Association (TSPA) which includes the Matagorda Pilots, Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots, Brazos Pilots, Galveston-Texas City Pilots, Houston Pilots and Sabine Pilots.

Contact Information

  • For more information:
    Henry de La Garza
    The Pilots PIO
    Email Contact
    (713) 622-8818