September 27, 2004

More "ghost ships" head for Texas

Ship disposal contracts for the last four "high-priority" ships currently available for disposal from the U.S. Government's James River Reserve fleet in Virginia were announced today at Ft. Eustis, Va, keeping a promise made earlier this year to move the ten worst ships in the aging fleet out of the river and on to qualified scrapyards to be dismantled.

U.S. Maritime Administrator Captain William Schubert announced the last four contracts for high priority ships today during a visit to the fleet. "Just three months ago, there were ten ships that had to go as soon as possible. With these contracts today, all ten are now scheduled for disposal." he said.

The four ships included in the latest announcement are going to facilities in Brownsville, Texas. All Star Metals was awarded three contracts, valued at over $2.4 million, to dismantle the Donner, the Protector and the General Nelson M. Walker. Marine Metals was awarded a contract valued at approximately $1.1 million to dismantle the General William O. Darby.

Disposal contracts have been awarded on 11 ships this summer, including the Protector in Portsmouth; two ships have left the James River, and additional departures are scheduled for this year. With the latest announcement, 41 ship disposal contracts have been awarded and 25 ships have left the James River Reserve Fleet since the beginning of 2001.

Schubert added, 'With these high priority ships all under contract, we can now turn our attention to the rest of the ships in the fleet in need of disposal."

MARAD administers the National Defense Reserve Fleet, which holds ships designated as being useful for defense. When the ships deteriorate, they are made available for disposal. There are approximately 110 "non-retention" vessels located in the three fleet sites of the National Defense Reserve Fleet; 60 of them are located in the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, Va.

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