Maritime Administration News Release

News Release #: MARAD 19-08
Date: Aug 6 2008
Contact: Shannon Russell
Contact Phone: 202-366-5807

Progress Celebrated as 75th Ship Leaves James River Fleet

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton and Representative Rob Wittman (Va-1st) marked the departure of the 75th ship from the James River Reserve Fleet since January 2001, hailing not only the dwindling number of obsolete ships moored in the James River but also the boon to local industry. As they spoke at the fleet site today, the oiler Truckee was towed out to a local firm, Bay Bridge Enterprises, LLC, of Chesapeake, Va., to be dismantled.

“This incredible progress was made possible by a responsive and responsible Virginia delegation, and the great business sense of a local firm,” said Connaughton. In January 2001, the Maritime Administration was unable to dispose of obsolete ships, since there were very few domestic facilities for ship disposal. Since then, congressional appropriations, rising world prices for scrap steel, and the growth of companies such as Bay Bridge have made it possible for the Maritime Administration to move obsolete vessels out rapidly. Fifteen have left the fleet in the past year, and two more are expected to depart soon.

USS Truckee was a Navy fleet oiler, in service from 1955 to 1994 and was first assigned to the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk, Va., from 1955 to 1959. The vessel served the Sixth Fleet in 1961, performing more than 160 fueling operations at sea during one four-month period. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Truckee fueled 152 ships in 50 days. Over the course of 39 years, the vessel provided services along the Atlantic coastline and foreign waters. Truckee was transferred to the Maritime Administration in May 1999 and moored at the James River Fleet, in Fort Eustis, Va.

The Maritime Administration keeps ships in three National Defense Reserve Fleet sites to support Armed Forces movements and to respond to national emergencies. Those sites are the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, Va.; Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Beaumont, Texas; and Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, Calif. When the ships become obsolete, the Maritime Administration arranges for their disposition in an environmentally sensitive manner.

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