Inside the Ghost Ships of the Mothball Fleet

Photographer Scott Haefner and a few of his friends snuck aboard ships in the Suisan Bay Reserve Fleet near San Francisco, CA and photographed and documented the rusting fleet.  Fascinating images.  The Mail Online ran an article today about his work.  For more images, see Haefner’s site: Inside the Ghost Ships of the Mothball Fleet

The National Defense Reserve Fleet was an outgrowth of Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946 which provided that the government would acquired a reserve of ships for national defense and national emergencies.  At its height in 1950, the NDRF consisted of 2,277 ships at eight anchorages.  Now the only NDR fleets remaining are in the James River, VA, in Beaumont, TX and in Suisan Bay, CA and total around 200 ships.   Because these old and now obsolete vessels contain toxic  materials  they have been referred to as “ticking environmental time bombs.”   Since 2008, the Maritime Administration has been actively involved in scrapping the old ships.

The ghost ships of Mothball Fleet: Incredible pictures of abandoned Navy war ships taken by crew of illegal squatters

Thanks to Dave Shirlaw for pointing out the article on the Marine History List.

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4 Responses to Inside the Ghost Ships of the Mothball Fleet

  1. Stephen Phelps says:

    For years there was a mothballed fleet of Liberty Ships in the Hudson north of the Palisades; as teens we would prowl slowly among them in our 17′ Thompson with its game little 35-HP Johnson outboard, craning our necks and imagining the adventures they had seen and the men who had served on them, wishing we had the nerve to board them and explore their imagined secrets. Good fishing there, too.
    Pictures here show them as I remember them…

  2. Rick says:

    Thanks Steve. Great photos.

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