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Rusting Cargo Ships to Be Scrapped

August 9, 2004

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) _ Three more rusting cargo ships that belong to the James River ``Ghost Fleet″ will be scrapped in Texas, maritime officials announced Monday.

The Santa Isabel, the Mormacwave and the American Ranger, all built in the 1960s, will be towed soon to a salvage facility in Brownsville, Texas, where they will be scrapped under a $3.2 million contract with the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The vessels are among the river’s ``Ghost Fleet″ of large cargo and military-support ships anchored off Fort Eustis in Newport News, Va. The fleet contains oil, asbestos, lead and other toxic chemicals that have posed environmental concerns for years.

The contract announced Monday leaves about 60 Ghost Fleet vessels that need to be scrapped, the Maritime Administration said.

The agency is under a congressional mandate to get rid of about 150 obsolete ships moored in Virginia, Texas, California and Alabama by September 2006.

Since the beginning of 2001, contracts have been awarded for 37 ships from the Ghost Fleet, and 24 of the ships have left.

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On the Net:

U.S. Maritime Administration: http://www.marad.dot.gov/

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