The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Maritime Administration:
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Transportationâ€™s Maritime Administration today announced that it has awarded two contracts for a total of $3.1 million to Allied Defense Recycling of Petaluma, California, to clean and recycle two Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet ships, the SS Solon Turman and the SS President.
The two ships are scheduled to be towed from Suisun Bay to the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard facility in for recycling in December. â€œThe Obama Administration is running full-speed ahead in its commitment to cleaning up the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet,â€ said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. â€œThese contracts will help the local economy while advancing our mission of maintaining the Fleet in a safe and environmentally-sound manner.â€
In October 2009, the Obama Administration called for expedited cleanup of the fleet site and improved protection of the unique marine environment and surrounding bayside communities, setting a goal of removing 57 ships by September 30, 2017. Eleven ships were removed in the past year, surpassing the planned schedule of removing 10 ships in 2010.
â€œThis is further evidence of our commitment to clean up Suisun Bay,â€ said Maritime Administrator David Matsuda. â€œThe Mare Island recycling facility will bolster our efforts to remove obsolete ships and reduce environmental risks to the Bay.â€
MARAD currently cleans the hulls of obsolete ships before towing them nearly 5,000 miles through the Panama Canal to recycling facilities on the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic coasts. Allied Defense Recycling, using the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, will recycle the ships avoiding the lengthy tow to ship recyclers in other areas.
The Maritime Administration promotes the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced, United States merchant marine fleet, sufficient to carry the Nation’s domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. The Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet is one of three anchorages maintained by the Maritime Administration for national defense and national emergency purposes.