2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 16 Feb 2003 23:45:06 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Virginia's ghost fleet
Ships Anchored in the Past 
U.S. 'Ghost Fleet' Poses Environmental And Other Dangers 

By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page C01 


On the rotting deck of the Albert J. Myer, a group of super-sized men in
gloves and hard hats is struggling to level the 4,000-ton mothballed
Navy ship, which is listing badly to its port side. Three decks below,
workers are crawling in the dark, connecting hoses to get rid of oily
bilge water.

The Albert J. Myer is slowly being righted. But not to fight another
day. All the effort and expense is to keep the 57-year-old ship -- and
the more than 136,000 gallons of oil sloshing around inside -- floating
and upright in its watery purgatory.

The ship is just one of 71 decommissioned cargo and military support
vessels in the government's so-called Ghost Fleet, aging rust buckets,
all docked together here in the middle of the James River. They are
bloated with nearly 13 million gallons of oil and fuel -- by comparison,
the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons -- and crammed with PCBs,
their brittle hulls thinning by the day. The vessels increasingly
present a high environmental risk and a potential terrorist target.

"They're a ticking time bomb," said Lynn Ridley, "riverkeeper" for the
James River Association.

A large spill could oil much of the James River within 48 hours,
including military installations and a nearby nuclear power plant. A
spill of 300,000 gallons would foul miles of riverfront, including
historic Jamestown, and kill tens of thousands of fish and birds,
according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

for the entire story, see 


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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