â€œTwo years ago we promised to get rid of the obsolete ships that posed a threat to the surrounding environment,â€ said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. â€œTodayâ€™s ship departure demonstrates that we meant it.â€
Upon assuming office, the Obama Administration immediately revived stalled negotiations with local officials and environmental groups to settle litigation that had endured for several years and prevented ships from being removed after January 2007. In October 2009, the Department began awarding contracts to remove the worst condition ships from the fleet site and improve cleaning methods for the rest. Of the 57 Suisun Bay obsolete ships scheduled for removal, only 31 remain. They will be removed for disposal by September 30, 2017.
“From the beginning, the Obama Administration set the right tone and backed a sincere commitment to cleaning up Suisun Bay with swift action,” said Maritime Administrator Matsuda. “Our partnership with local environmental officials and use the best available maintenance practices on our ships have led to a more environmentally sustainable region.”
The Sperry (AS-12) is a Fulton-class submarine tender, built at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA. The vessel was launched in December 1941 and after completing trials and training arrived in Pearl Harbor in August 1942. Sperry remained in the Pacific theatre during WWII refitting and making voyage repairs to the Navyâ€™s submarine fleet. During peacetime the vessel continued to support the submarines of the Pacific Fleet, spending most of its time in port at San Diego CA. It will be cleaned of potential invasive marine species and exfoliated paint at the Allied Defense Recycling Mare Island shipyard, and then towed to Texas, where it will be recycled at ESCO Marine Inc.
The Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet is one of three National Defense Reserve Fleet anchorages maintained by the Department of Transportationâ€™s Maritime Administration for national defense and national emergency purposes. There are currently 52 non-retention ships moored in the Reserve Fleets, of which 31 are located in Suisun Bay.