Federal Surplus Ships: Government Efforts to Address the Growing Backlog of Ships Awaiting Disposal.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIV
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Federal agencies currently have a backlog of about 200 surplus ships waiting to be scrapped. The backlog of ships to be scrapped has grown by about 65 percent since 1994 and little progress has been made in reducing the backlog. Many of the ships to be scrapped are more than 50 years old and millions of dollars are required annually to maintain them. In response to your request, we identified the status of federal ship scrapping programs. This report provides information on 1 the factors contributing to the backlog and 2 federal agencies efforts to address the backlog. As requested, we focused our review on the Department of the Navy and the Maritime Administration MARAD because they own most of the surplus ships. Once a U.S. agency determines that a ship is obsolete and no longer useful for the purposes intended, that agency must find a way to properly dispose of it. Ships that are no longer needed are screened for other uses, including transfer to another country under proper legal authority, use by another federal agency, and donation to a state or private recipient for appropriate public use. Ships may also be sunk as part of naval training exercises. Ships not used for any of these purposes are considered available for scrapping. According to a July 1997 MARAD study,2 ship scrapping is a labor-intensive industry with extremely high risks with respect to environmental and worker safety issues.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control