Tugboats were scheduled to tow the freighter USS Neosho from the James River Reserve Fleet
on Wednesday, February 9th, at approximately 11:00 a.m., to International Shipbreaking Limited, in Brownsville, TX, where it will be dismantled. The departure schedule was subject to weather and safety clearances.
Neosho will be the ninth vessel to leave the James River Fleet
for disposal since last June. The disposal contract for the ship was announced December 20, 2004.
The USS Neosho was built in 1954 at the Bethlehem Steel Shipy
ard in Quincy, MA, as a U.S. Navy oiler ship. It was decommissioned in 1978 and transferred to Maritime Administration in 1999.
Preparations for towing the Neosho must be made under the scrutiny of the U.S. Coast Guard. Towing can take place only when the preparations are deemed safe and seaworthy, and if weather permits. Maritime Administration (MARAD) officials emphasize that the process is thorough and that safety considerations may delay the towing schedule.
The James River Reserve fleet serves as a reserve of ships for national defense
and national emergency purposes. The anchorage site
located at Ft. Eustis, Virginia on the James River includes both ships that are slated for disposal and retention ships that are still activated if needed.