The U. S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has signed fee-for-service contracts to recycle three more of its obsolete ships. Two ships, the Hattiesburg Victory and the Pioneer Contractor, are from the Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Texas, and one, the oiler Savannah, is from the James River Reserve Fleet in Virginia.
The Maritime Administration has moved 118 ships out of its National Defense Reserve Fleet sites since 2001. With the contracts announced today, there are only 24 ships left in the James River waiting to be disposed of and without disposal contracts, and 10 such ships in the Beaumont site.
The Hattiesburg Victory is one of the few remaining Victory ships built during World War II to carry cargo needed by U.S. forces all over the world. Hattiesburg Victory was built during the last months of the war, served in a commercial fleet in the Hawaiian Islands immediately after World War II, and later served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Hattiesburg Victory will be recycled at ESCO Marine Inc., of Brownsville, Texas, at a cost to the federal government of $1,016,000.
The Savannah is 1970-vintage ex-Navy oil replenishment (AOR4) ship, not to be confused with the nuclear-powered ship Savannah currently moored in Baltimore. The oiler Savannah, currently moored at the James River Reserve Fleet site, also will be recycled at ESCO Marine Inc., of Brownsville, for $515,726. The third ship, Pioneer Contractor, was originally constructed in 1963 as the American Contractor, a breakbulk cargo ship. It is currently moored at Beaumont and will be recycled by Marine Metal, Inc., of Brownsville, for $321,000.
The Maritime Administration stores ships at three National Defense Reserve Fleet sites: the James River Reserve Fleet, the Beaumont Reserve Fleet, and the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in California. When ships become obsolete, the Maritime Administration arranges for their disposition in an environmentally sensitive manner. When a ship is recycled, the recycler often salvages and sells metal and other materials, and disposes of other materials in accordance with state and federal law.