Reviews, Rants, Raves and 'Riginal Stuff by Raymond Virata

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Sleeping Giants of Suisun Bay

Stationed in the middle of Suisun Bay, California, the Battleship USS Iowa and the vintage ships of the US Navy Reserve Fleet still can be called upon active duty in times of war.

I heard and read about it on the internet, a graveyard of old Navy ships stationed somewhere in Northern California. My search led me to a location much closer than I thought, the US Navy Reserve Fleet (Mothball Fleet) just off the coast of Martinez, California in Suisun Bay. A month ago, I drove out to Benicia which is across the Bay but couldn't see anything. I research further and found out you can only reach the mothball fleet by boat. Bay View Charters offers a cruise once a month on the last Sunday.

It is cheaper to store and maintain old ships rather than build new ones just in case the US is drawn into war.

I finally booked a reservation and I was amazed when the boat reached the fleet. The fleet was row after row of floating steel goliaths. You'll see old warships, support ships, oilers, and other vessels dating back to World War II which the US Navy keeps just in case of war. It is cheaper to keep these vessels than to build new ones. Old ships also contain hazardous materials such as asbestos which make it environmentally dangerous if discarded in the ocean.

The helicopter carrier USS New Orleans is scheduled to be sunk as a target.

The tour was organized by the Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square, which brought the battleship USS Iowa to the Bay Area. The group wanted to station the Iowa at San Francisco, but the City's Board of Supervisors rejected the idea because of the board's anti-war stance. The ship would have been ideally based in San Francisco because of its rich tradition as a port city. The city of Stockton is applying to dock the ship as floating museum while Vallejo, which is closer to the Reserve Fleet has still to vote on whether to get the ship or not.

More photos at my Filphoto Gallery


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that they intend
to sink the Inchon Class USS New Orleans as a target. I wish she could be retrofited for Coast Guard use. An LPH would be useful for search and rescue operations and for basing Helicopters. Perhaps up in Alaska to suppoert the crab fleet --or even in Oakland Alameda area.
Richard H. Segel
Also as a museum ship for the city of New Orleans.

11:55 PM


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