August 25, 2004

Another ghost ship heads for Texas

Tugboats are scheduled to tow the freighter American Ranger from the James River Reserve Fleet on August 26th, at approximately 10 a.m., to the Esco Marine facility in Brownsville, TX, where it will be dismantled. The departure schedule is subject to weather and safety clearances.

The American Ranger is one of the high-priority ships designated for disposal by the Maritime Administration (MARAD). The contract for the American Ranger was announced August 9th, along with the disposal contracts for two other high-priority ships, the Santa Isabel and the Mormacwave. The Santa Cruz, part of a contract awarded in June, left the JRRF on August 5th.

"Tomorrow's tow of the American Ranger demonstrates the significant progress we are making on this important issue. This Administration is getting the job done, and citizens of this region will continue to see more ships leaving the fleet this year," said Maritime Administrator, Captain William G. Schubert.

Preparations for towing the American Ranger must be made under the scrutiny of the U.S. Coast Guard. Towing can take place only when the preparations are deemed safe and seaworthy, and if weather permits. MARAD officials emphasize that the process is thorough and that safety considerations may delay the towing schedule.

The American Ranger was built in 1965 in Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Chester, Pennsylvania. It was one of five American Racer (Challenger II)-class freighters built for United States Lines. The American Racer class was the first American class built from the keel up as fully automated. Its design and development were called "unparalleled in American shipbuilding." . MARAD's National Defense Reserve Fleet, of which the JRRF is a part, was established to hold ships that would support cargo movement requirements during military activity or national emergencies. MARAD acquired the American Ranger because it was considered at one time to be of potential military use. It was a container ship fitted with self-sustaining container gantry cranes, which helps with access to unimproved ports.

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