The following is the text of a press release issue by the U.S. Maritime Administration:
(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Transportationâ€™s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has signed contracts to clean and recycle three World War II-era ships from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, including the last two Victory ships moored in the Bay. The Rider Victory and the Winthrop Victory are the last two Victory ships owned by the federal agency; the third ship, the Mission Santa Ynez, was built in 1943.
â€œThe Obama Administration is committed to environmental stewardship and to the clean up of Suisun Bay,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Many of these dilapidated ships pose a dangerous and unacceptable risk to the surrounding marine environment. We have already successfully towed the first two ships out of the Bay to be recycled, and with these next contracts in place, will continue moving swiftly forward to clean and recycle another three obsolete vessels.â€
Since DOT first announced plans to clean up the fleet at Suisun Bay on October 22, 2009, two ships have been removed. Todayâ€™s announcement brings that total to five.
The ships will be towed first to BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair, where they will be cleaned of marine growth and loose exterior paint. They will then be towed to Brownsville, Texas to be dismantled by Esco Marine under the terms of three separate fee-for-service contracts for a total of $3,407,726.
The Rider Victory and the Winthrop Victory are the last Victory ships in the Suisun Bay facility. Victory ships were cargo ships built in the waning days of World War II to carry troops, materials and supplies overseas. Many saw service in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and some served in the first Gulf War. Three Victory ships have been transformed into museums.
The Mission Santa Ynez was twice awarded the National Defense Service Medal. All three ships were built in California shipyards.
MARAD keeps ships at three National Defense Reserve Fleet sites: the James River Reserve Fleet, the Beaumont Reserve Fleet, and the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in California. When ships become obsolete, the Maritime Administration arranges for their disposition in an environmentally sensitive manner. When a ship is recycled, the recycler often salvages and sells metal and other materials, and disposes of other materials in accordance with state and federal law.