Maritime Administration to Remove Remaining High-Priority Vessels from James River Reserve Fleet

U.S. Department of Transportation, Aug 27, 2007

Departures Will Bring Total to 66 Vessels Since January 2001
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced today that it has made arrangements to remove the last of several high-priority vessels from the James River Reserve Fleet.  The agency has awarded five ship-disposal contracts worth a total of $2,161,610 to North American Ship Recycling of Sparrows Point, Md. 

"This multiple-ship contract is great news,” said Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton.  “Not only are we moving out five more ships, but there will no longer be any high-priority vessels remaining in the fleet.”

The departure of Cape Charles, Pride, Scan, Southern Cross, and Sphinx will bring the number of ships leaving the James River to 66 since January 2001.  The Sphinx, a cable-layer built in Japan in 1944, is the only World War II-era ship in this group of five.  The condition of the Sphinx made it a high-priority ship for the Maritime Administration for several years, but disposal was delayed while charitable groups tried to raise money to save it.  
The remaining ships were all built in the 1960s; Scan, Southern Cross, and Pride were all built for the Moore-McCormick Company as combination freight and passenger vessels.  The Cape Charles, a freighter launched in 1963, was constructed at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard at Sparrows Point, the same site in Maryland where it will be dismantled.

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., the Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Beaumont, Texas; the 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.