Ghost Fleet of Retired Ships - Benicia, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member DougK
N 38° 05.220 W 122° 06.720
10S E 577872 N 4215840
Quick Description: This is a fleet of rusting warships floats in the Suisun Bay, north of San Francisco. These WW I vintage ships have been re-activated into service as needed. Today these ships are so old that most are considered an environmental hazard to the Bay.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 4/12/2013 10:50:40 PM
Waymark Code: WMGVPH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 4

Long Description:
Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet is part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (MARAD). Established by the Merchant Ship Act of 1946, the NDRF serves as a reserve which could be activated to meet the shipping requirements during national emergencies. During World War II, over 3000 commercial type ships were built by the maritime Commission to support the Allied war effort. After the war, thos ships that could not be absorbed into commercial service were laid up in reserve, to be preserved and utilized in the future as needed.

At its peak 2,277 ships were in reserve in the NDRF at eight sites nation-wide. in the 1950's these ships were consolidated into three sites: James River, VA, Beaumont, TX, and here in Suisun Bay.

A ready Reserve Fleet component was established in 1976 as a subset of NDRF to provide rapid deployment of equipment and became known as Ready Reserve Force (RRF) in 1984.

In addition to World War !!, NDRF vessels have supported emergency shipping requirements in seven wars and crises. Such as the Korean War, 540 vessels were broken out to support military forces. A world-wide tonnage shortfall in 1951-1953 required over 600 ships to be reactivated to lift coal to Northern Europe and grain to India. From 1955 to 1964, another 600 ships were used to store grain for the Department of Agriculture. Another tonnage shortfall following the Suez Canal closing in 1956 saw 223 cargo ships and 29 tankers activated from the NDRF. in 1961 Berlin crisis 18 vessels were activated while 172 vessels were activated for Vietnam conflict.

The fleet is comprised of ex-commercial cargo ships, tankers, and U.S. Navy inactive vessels. Over the years the Mothball fleet, here in Suisun Bay, has included some famous and infamous sea craft such as Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien, The Glomar Explorer, built for the CIA in 1974 by Howard Hughes, and Navy cruisers.

Ships at Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet are held in varying states of preservation with maintenance performed by civilian Reserve Fleet personnel using effective and cost efficient methods.

These ships can be seen while crossing the Martinez-Benicia bridge and from along I-680, Luther Gibson Parkway. A rest area off I-680 provides a view of the ships and the bay. Coordinates are from the rest area overlooking the mothball fleet, where there is an interpretative display. The rows of ships can actually be in Google Satellite view here, here, and here

Price of Admission: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Roadside Attractions Website: [Web Link]

Location Website: [Web Link]

Weekday Hours: Not listed

Weekend Hours: Not listed

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NW_history_buff visited Ghost Fleet of Retired Ships - Benicia, CA 1/1/2015 NW_history_buff visited it