The U.S. Navy has proposed extending and modernizing Apra Harbor’s Kilo Wharf to handle a new class of dry cargo and ammunition ships to operate in the Western Pacific, according to Guam Naval Base officials.

Kilo Wharf was built in 1989, said base spokesman Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin Keller. The extension would add 400 feet to provide a total of 800 linear feet of berthing to accommodate the new, longer ships and their different placement of cargo hatches, he added.

The new T-AKE class of ships will replace the T-AE class that operates out of Apra Harbor. They should be in service by mid-2009.

Direct benefits to the economy from construction and jobs are estimated at more than $70 million, Keller said.

In addition, he added, modifications would allow easier berthing of visiting ships.

Navy officials are drafting an environmental impact statement expected by the middle of 2006 to evaluate the wharf extension.

Public comment meetings are to be held 6-9 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa, and 6-9 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Santa Rita community center.

“By standard procedure, the Navy considers any and all impact the project may have on the environment before construction ever begins,” Keller said. “Additionally, we welcome the public’s input.”

Written comments can sent by Sept. 9 to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific; Attention: Ms. Nora Macariola-See, NM 258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 96860-3134

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