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Ship Disposal Authorities

The Maritime Administration maintains the National Defense Reserve Fleet as a reserve of ships for defense and national emergencies. There are three fleet sites: the James River Reserve Fleet at Fort Eustis, Va. the Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Beaumont, Texas and the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet at Benicia, Calif. When ships are no longer considered useful for defense or aid missions, the Maritime Administration arranges for their responsible disposal.

The Federal Property and Administrative Service Act of 1949 the Maritime Administration serves as the U.S. Government’s disposal agent for merchant type vessels of 1,500 gross tons or more. Until 2001 the primary method of disposal for obsolete NDRF vessels was vessel sales through competitive sealed bidding.

In 2001 Congress passed the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act (the DOD Authorization Act, FY 2001), which authorized the Maritime Administration to use appropriated funds for the procurement of ship dismantling and recycling services. Since then the Maritime Administration’s Ship Disposal Program has utilized vessel sales and ship recycling services as the primary means to dispose of obsolete NDRF vessels. The Program has included artificial reefing, ship donation and SINKEX (sink at-sea live-fire training exercise) as additional vessel disposal options.

Ship Disposal Strategy

The Maritime Administration’s management approach is to remove all vessels that present the highest risk to the environment as soon as possible, and to have disposal alternatives and the necessary funding in place to ensure that obsolete vessels can be disposed of at a rate greater than obsolete vessels coming into the Maritime Administration’s fleets.

Ship Disposal Methods

  • Domestic Recycling – Through ship sales offers and direct fee-for-service solicitation. The program awards ship recycling contracts to seven domestic ship recyclers.
  • Artificial Reefing- The Maritime Administration accepts applications from coastal States, U.S. Territories and possessions and foreign governments for use of obsolete NDRF vessels as offshore reefs for the conservation of marine life. The Maritime Administration may provide financial assistance for specific domestic reefing projects.
  • Ship Donations – The Maritime Administration may convey obsolete NDRF vessels to a non-profit organization, state, commonwealth, or U.S. possession for such vessel reutilization including historic restoration of ships as memorials and museums and the operational restoration of ships to support non-profit humanitarian missions.
  • SINKEX – Joint Navy and Maritime Administration ship disposal projects through the Navy’s sink at-sea live-fire training exercises (SINKEX Program).

Ship Disposal Annual Report

Vessel Operations Revolving Fund (VORF) Transactions Report

Biennial Assessment Report

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2018