Break Ships in the Bay Area?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
According to the News-Times, San Francisco, just a brief distance from Suisun Bay, is where the Ghost Fleet vessels are located that Bay Bridge Enterprises wants to bring to Newport for shipbreaking. It is a much larger city than Newport, with its own industrial areas. Why can't those vessels be taken apart there or elsewhere in the Bay Area, several Newport residents have asked, instead of in Oregon? There are two old U.S. Navy shipyards in the Bay Area, but both are closed down. One is the old Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard in southeastern San Francisco, on 638 acres of waterfront. In the mid-1950s, it employed 8,500 civilians in building and repairing ships. But, according to a FAS Military Analysis Network website article, it ceased operations in 1974. After that, the Navy leased most of the yard to a commercial ship repair company until 1986. In 1991 the shipyard was approved for closure, and the Navy leased half of the property to the City of San FranciscoAccording to the FAS website, in October 1994 a coalition of environmental, sport fishing and public interest groups sued the Navy, alleging toxic discharges from the Hunters Point shipyard were contaminating San Francisco Bay. According to an article dated Jan. 24, 2005 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, The other Navy shipyard in the Bay Area is in Vallejo, at Mare Island, 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. It is closed, too. Work on the aircraft carrier "Oriskany" produced problems, Jones said. According to the FAS website, the 4,351-acre yard employed 46,000 people at its World War II peak. The Navy completed closure of the Mare Island base in April 1996. More than 140 years of use left various hazardous wastes behind, and the City of Vallejo is still working, with federal help, on the cleanup. But some parts of the site are being reused. An Army Reserve training center will be using one part, a steel fabricating company another, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has turned 670 wetland acres into a wildlife refuge.

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