Vessels of the National Defense Reserve Fleet
Section 11 of the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946 established the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) to serve as a reserve of ships for national defense and national emergencies. At its height in 1950, the NDRF consisted of 2,277 ships at the following eight anchorages: Stony Point, New York; Fort Eustis, Virginia; Wilmington, North Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; Beaumont, Texas; Benicia, California; Astoria, Oregon; and Olympia, Washington.
Today’s fleet is much smaller, consisting of just three of its original eight anchorages located at Fort Eustis on the James River, Virginia; Beaumont, Texas; and Suisun Bay in Benicia, California. In addition to maintaining a fleet of active and inactive ships, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is the Federal government’s disposal agent for Federally-owned obsolete, merchant-type vessels, and naval auxiliaries that are equal to or greater than 1,500 gross tons. Today’s fleet includes both retention and non-retention vessels, and is primarily made up of of dry cargo ships with some tankers and military auxiliaries.
You can learn more about the individual histories of vessels of the NDRF below:
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Surveys of NDRF Vessels
- Vessels of the Beaumont Reserve Fleet
- Vessels of the James River Reserve Fleet
- Vessels of the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet