Mothball Fleet An Environmental Concern?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a study Thursday that found hazardous materials such as lead and zinc were at low to medium levels for toxicity to shellfish near the reserve defense ships.

The study determined that most of the heavy metals are at concentration levels comparable to other parts of San Francisco Bay, which has been compromised by years of pollution from urban runoff, factories, sewage plants and shipping.

Rob Ricker, a NOAA regional manager, said that flaking paint from the 70 or so decommissioned ships of the National Defense Reserve Fleet was the most likely source of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals found in bay sediments in close proximity to the mothballed fleet. The paint often contains lead, zinc, copper and other toxic materials such as PCBs.
“You can see paint blowing off the vessels,” Ricker said. "As the paint goes into the water and with the break down of the paint, you have a release of heavy metals."

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Whats the point… most of those ships are dead, just rotting steel corpses. They are too far gone to every ply the seas again. Some aren’t. but come on, a ship that hasn’t had fire in its belly or a crew on deck since the vietnam war is DOA at this point.

I think Gillette needs another shipment of razor blades…

I would like to see them serve a greater purpose…Remember the old prison ships??

My company helps manage these hulls. A lot of them were laid up with old Nr 6 bunker fuel left in them. They really are a mess. It is such a pain to dispose of these. Of course, look who’s in charge of the process. The same group that has pretty well forgotten the American mariner.

I live just over the hill from the Suisun Bay reserve fleet. It is sad to see a number of those ships in such disrepair. I am firm believer in keeping back up fleet stored and ready, but at some point even the back up ships become obsolete and need to be taken out to pasture. The reserve fleet provides a valuable source of spare parts though. I myself would like to go check out the USS Iowa as it sits on the end of one of rows.