The ultimate fate of the National Defense Reserve Fleet has become a hotly contested matter in recent years, as environmentalists claim the aged ships are leaking nasty toxins into California’s Suisun Bay. That certainly seems logical, since these rusting hulks were built in the age of asbestos, lead paint, and other environmental bogeymen. But a recent report (PDF) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims otherwise:
Sediments from the SBRF study area and the rest of Suisun Bay have a low to moderately low potential for toxicity to benthic invertebrates. The contaminant concentrations observed are largely comparable to values for the same metals and organics measured in other regions of the greater San Francisco Bay. Following this analysis, NOAA does not recommend specific sediment remedial actions in the vicinity of the SBRF at this time.
This report may clear the way for several of the fleet’s minor ships to be scrapped in situ. So before they disappear, pay a virtual visit to the NDRF by using this awesome Google Map, created by the good folks at KQED. Pick your favorite mothballed ship of yore; Microkhan has always been particularly partial to the USS Thomaston.