Two more ships are leaving the James River, headed for disposal facilities in Virginia and Maryland, in what has become a regular occurrence since the Bush Administration took over management of the nation’s ship disposal program
five years ago, the U.S. Maritime Administration announced on March 23. The Howard W. Gilmore, one of the last World War II-vintage ships still at the fleet, is scheduled to leave the James River Reserve
Fleet at Fort Eustis, making it the 50th ship to leave the river since January 1, 2001. The next ship set to leave is a barge, the UEB, sold to North American Ship Recycling of Sparrows Point, MD, for more than $76,000. MARAD maintains the James River Reserve Fleet at Fort Eustis as a reserve of ships for defense and national emergencies. When ships are no longer considered useful for defense or aid missions, MARAD arranges for their responsible disposal. The presence of deteriorated ships in the fleet has been a point of controversy in the past.