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Ghost Fleet ships destined for recycling

United States – Two ships from the so-called Ghost Fleet at Suisun Bay in the USA are being towed to Vallejo in California to be scrapped. Newly-formed Allied Defense Recycling of Petaluma will be breaking the President and the Solon Turman at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard under a US$ 3.1 million contract awarded by the US Maritime Administration.

The two obsolete cargo ships have been laid up for decades. The government has been under pressure to dispose of these and other old vessels which were anchored in Suisun Bay as a sort of ready reserve but were never sent back to sea and gradually began to deteriorate. Having been taken to court over the issue by environmentalists, the government promised last year to dispose of most of the ships. Eleven vessels from the mothballed fleet were taken this year to a San Francisco shipyard where they were cleaned and made ready for sea. They were then towed nearly 5000 miles down the coast to Central America and through the Panama Canal to ship dismantling facilities in Texas or on the Atlantic Coast. The latest contract will bring around 120 new blue-collar jobs to Vallejo. Hundreds of local jobs were lost when the former naval shipyard was closed in 1996.

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