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