Dozens of mothballed US Navy ships that have been sitting in—and polluting—a northern California bay for years will finally be disposed of, the federal government announced today. Composed mainly of obsolete, World War II-era ships, the “ghost fleet” has dumped some 20 tons of toxic metal and other chemicals into Suisun Bay, experts tell the AP. The feds say they’ll remove the 25 worst offenders by September 2012, 27 more by 2017.
The US Maritime Administration will be in charge of recycling the ships; it did not have a cost estimate for all 52 ships, but notes that one taken recently from California to Texas via the Panama Canal cost $1.7 million. “Getting these ships cleaned up and removed is a huge victory for our environment and the people of California,” says one activist, noting Suisun Bay’s importance as an estuary.
(Read more ghost fleet stories.)