Chesapeake Firm to Recycle Ships

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Two government ships, currently moored at a shipyard near Baltimore, Md., will be recycled at the Bay Bridge Enterprises facility in Chesapeake, Va., under the terms of contracts announced today by the Maritime Administration. Both are World War II-era ships, formerly anchored in the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, Va. Bay Bridge will receive $95,000 to dismantle the Hoist, and $695,000 to dismantle the Sphinx. Both ships were originally awarded to North American Ship Recycling, Inc. Those contracts were terminated by the Maritime Administration after notification by North American Ship Recycling, Inc. that the company had terminated all operations at the Sparrows Point Shipyard.

The Hoist, a Navy rescue and salvage ship built in 1945, served with distinction for 49 years, and entered the James River Reserve Fleet in 1994. In 1964 and again in 1966, it participated in significant undersea searches: first for the lost attack submarine USS Thresher and later for the recovery of a hydrogen bomb lost off Palomares, Spain, after the crash of a B-52 bomber. The latter events were depicted in the 2000 motion picture Men of Honor. The Sphinx was originally built in 1944 as a tank landing ship, but was converted into a landing craft repair ship in 1945. The Sphinx had a long career in the Navy, earning 10 battle stars- two in the Korean conflict, and eight in Vietnam - before being placed in the James River Reserve Fleet in 1989.

The Maritime Administration keeps ships in three National Defense Reserve Fleet sites to support Armed Forces movements and to respond to national emergencies. Those sites are the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, Va., Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Beaumont, Texas, and Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, Calif. When the ships become obsolete, the Maritime Administration arranges for their disposition in an environmentally-sensitive manner.

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