January 12, 2012:
The U.S. Navy has restored its only permanent floating target to duty. The training target (for dummy bombs and real machine-guns) is a barge with s superstructure that looks similar to a warship. It is anchored 16 kilometers off the North Carolina coast in the Stumpy Point Bombing Range (officially known as the Long Shoal Naval Ordnance Area). The bombs used against the barge contain no explosives, nor do any of the machine-gun rounds fired at it. Local mariners are warned to stay at least 2,700 meters from the barge, which is used 255 days a year, usually from 8 AM to 11 PM.
The first such target barge entered service in 1959 and lasted until 1997, when decades of punishment caused it to fall apart. The barge was rebuilt and returned to service in 2003. But within a year the barge was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel. Then in late 2011, a new barge was completed and anchored where the previous two sat, waiting to take fire.