Navy maintains, through the Maritime Administration, an Inactive Fleet ostensibly for reactivation in time of need. There are collections of retired ships in the James River in Virginia; Beaumont, Texas; and Suisun Bay, California and a number of other locations.

Over the past decade the number of ships in the Mothball Fleet have been dwindling – the known costs of reactivating the ships are high and the slow pace of the fleets reduction is a product of environmental concerns. Recognizing that the fleet will soon be a memory, a group of photographers went aboard the ships in Suisun Bay to document their existence. A presentation and photography exhibition will be made on Saturday May 7, 2011, 7:00-9:00 pm at Workspace Limited, 2150 Folsom Street in San Francisco.

These photographers used connections with MARAD to get aboard the Suisun Bay ships. Perhaps it’s time to more formally document these remaining ships in their various nationwide locations – a book with pictures of the ships now contrasted with pictures of them in their glory while in commission. USNI is the perfect organization to lead a project like this and it’s membership has all the resources.

(Hat Tip to The Scuttlefish)

Posted by M. Ittleschmerz in Navy

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  • Thanks for the post. Here is a link to a series that follows the USNS General John Pope as she leaves the fleet and passes under the Golden Gate on her final passage.

  • Retired Now

    so, these sites are where all the new LCS warships will be docked in a few years ?

  • Jay

    I don’t think there is/was a serious argument to be had that the NDRF (National Defense Reserve Fleet) would ever be activated.

    The ships are used mostly for parts — and MARAD/Navy has put money into maintaining the RRF (Ready Reserve Force) — which is kept in a 5 (or 10, or longer) readiness status. Most (not all) of the RRF are Ro/Ros. Apart from OIF — the RRF hasn’t been used much (except for exercises in ones/twos…) and stuff like Hurricane Mitch relief. DoD prefers to use commercial partners (sometimes cheaper…sometimes not…) first.

  • What a great idea for a book. I’d buy one.

  • Stacy0311

    When I was going through Maritime CQB at Mare Island back in 92, we used to go out to Suisun Bay to practice our VBSS techniques on those ships. Some were only held together by rust, others were in good shape. Good times…..