U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro paid a visit to Bayonne Dry Dock this afternoon alongside U.S. Reps. Rob Menendez (D-8) and Mikie Sherrill (D-11), touting the operation as one of the best in the country.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We were here just a couple weeks ago to announce over a $730,000 grant for Bayonne Dry Dock, which is an incredible recognition of the work you all do, not just today, but building forward to make sure this is a state-of-the-art facility for our Navy craft here, to make sure you’re all put to work every single day,” stated Menendez.
He also said it was an honor to have the port operation in Bayonne, Hudson County, and the 8th Congressional District since “it’s such an important site for our national security.”
As the congressman noted, he and Sherrill were at Bayonne Dry Dock, along with Mayor Jimmy Davis and other dignitaries, on July 24th to announce a $730,477 U.S. Department of Transportation grant.
Sherrill, a U.S. Navy veteran, noted that this was her third trip to the Peninsula City operation despite it being outside her district, noting that she is a member of House Armed Services Committee which makes funding allocations to operations like Bayonne Dry Dock.
” … As a sailor myself, I can tell you how important it is to have these resources, to get these ships fixed quickly back off to sea. This really is a gem, something that we in New Jersey really want to support and we really want to see thrive.”
Del Toro began by stating that he grew up just across the Hudson River in Hell’s Kitchen after migrating to the United States from Cuba.
Explaining his job duties, Del Toro, who has served in his post for just over two years, said he is responsible for writing checks that allows facilities like Bayonne Dry Dock to build and repair ships, using the allocations the Navy receives from Congress.
“There are not enough ways for me, on behalf of the American people, to thank you for your service, collective service, to our nation,” he said to the dozens on hand for the press event.
“Whether you are actually with the Coast Guard on one of those great Coast Guard ships, or you’re serving as a crew member here as a uniformed crew member or civilian crew member, or whether your serving on this shipyard actually doing the work.”
He also pointed out that our country has significant global challenges right now, citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Chinese threat to Taiwan as examples, the latter of which was explained in great detail in an episode of 60 Minutes last month.
Speaking with HCV after the event, Sherrill said she’s made it a priority to visit Bayonne Dry Dock since the navy needs more ship repair facilities.
“Right now, we’re doing some of our non-fighting fleet, our support fleet: we could take the fighting fleet here. We just spoke to the Sec Nav about his need for that, so we’re looking at the National Defense Authorization Act to support our efforts here in future years,” she noted.
As for Del Toro, he indicated that facilities like Bayonne Dry Dock are the backbone of the repair and construction industry, which is critical for the navy to succeed.
“I think it’s a very impressive dry dock quite frankly because of the people: the people who actually run this dry dock and the people who actually work in this dry dock,” he said.
“I have visited a lot of shipyards across the country, and across the world actually, and I’m extremely impressed with the administration and the workers that are here – you can tell the passion that they have for repairing ships like this.”
Bayonne Dry Dock President Michael Cranston served as the emcee for the event and Jersey City Democratic Organization Chair Barbara Stamato, also the Democratic nominee for Assembly in the 31st Legislative District, was in attendance as well.