Maritime Administration News Release

News Release #: DOT 169-09
Date: Oct 22 2009
Contact: Olivia Alair
Contact Phone: 202-366-4570

DOT Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari Announces Plan to Clean Up Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet

Department prioritizes 25 ships in worst condition for cleaning

BENICIA, Calif., –  U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari today announced that the Department’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) will begin to clean up and recycle obsolete vessels at the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet (SBRF). MARAD has awarded the first contracts for the removal and recycling of two WWII-era cargo ships currently moored in Suisun Bay, California – the first ships to be disposed from the fleet since January 2007.

“The Obama Administration is committed to good environmental stewardship, and these deteriorating vessels pose a risk to the marine ecosystem in Suisun Bay,” said Deputy Secretary Porcari. “We can maintain our national defense sealift assets at the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet with a much smaller footprint on the surrounding environment. The DOT has prioritized obsolete ships in the worst condition for proper cleaning and will work as quickly as possible to bring the fleet in line with our national goals for a safe and clean environment.”

The Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet is one of three anchorages maintained by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration for national defense and national emergency purposes. There are currently 84 non-retention ships moored in the Reserve Fleet, of which 57 are located in Suisun Bay.

MARAD Acting Administrator David Matsuda added, “The Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet is an important national security site. Performing our mission here needs to be done with great respect for the environment and we are committed to doing just that.”

The first two ships slated for drydocking – the Earlham Victory and the Pan American Victory – were built by Permanente Metals of Richmond, California in 1945.  Both ships will be cleaned at the BAE Systems San Francisco shipyard by the end of the year, and then towed to Brownsville, Texas, where they will be recycled at All Star Metals, LLC. MARAD awarded BAE Systems a $1.47 million contract to drydock the two vessels, and ALL Star Metals a recycling contract for $2.1 million.