2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 11 Sep 2003 17:00:57 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Ghost ships may start long ocean tow today
Ghost ships may start long ocean tow today
By Scott Harper
September 11, 2003

NORFOLK -- The Coast Guard is expected today to allow the first ships in
the James River ``Ghost Fleet'' to start heading to England for
scrapping, despite a growing clamor against the move in Britain and a
pending lawsuit by environmental groups in the United States.

The first vessels slated to go are the Caloosahatchee, built in 1945,
and the Canisteo, built in 1954. Both of their hulls are considered weak
and may leak, according to government inventories.

They are among 13 obsolete ships in the James River Reserve Fleet, or
Ghost Fleet, under contract for dismantling at a shipyard in northeast
England, just off the North Sea. The $17.8 million contract includes two
Navy oilers that could be sold later for millions of dollars.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, caretaker of the 100-ship fleet, said
the first two vessels may begin crossing the Atlantic as early as this
weekend, but likely will have to wait for better weather next week.
Hurricane Isabel continues to spin westerly toward the south Atlantic,
and the Virginia coast was under a gale warning Wednesday, according to
the National Weather Service.

``We want to make sure all our ducks are in line'' before the ships are
towed 4,500 miles to Teesside, England, a voyage expected to take about
two weeks, said administration spokeswoman Robyn Boerstling.

Environmental groups on both sides of the Atlantic fear the aging,
rusted vessels may break apart, sink or leak during the crossing,
spilling tons of heavy oil and other toxic materials into the marine
environment. Three environmental groups filed a notice Tuesday of their
intent to sue the U.S. government, alleging the shipment violates a law
against exporting hazardous waste.

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