On the Hudson River, about thirty miles north of New York, a once-vast armada of troopships and cargo carriers, anchored there since the end of World War Two, is dwindling.
On the Hudson River, about thirty miles north of New York, a once-vast armada of troopships and cargo carriers, anchored there since the end of World War Two, is dwindling. The United States Government is selling off the rusted vessels to anyone who wants them for their scrap value. Current prices average about $100,000 (about GBP40,000 sterling) per ship.
The ships are being sold to countries such as Germany, Spain, Taiwan and Pakistan. Sales contracts forbid any future use of the ships in commerce and so they are towed across miles of ocean to the blast furnaces of their new owners.
Recently, West Germany sent a tug to collect two of the ships
SYNOPSIS: In the Hudson River, about thirty miles north of New York, a once-vast armada of troopships and cargo carriers, known as the "Mothball" fleet", is now dwindling
At one point there were 189 of these ships stretched over two miles of the Hudson. Today, men and supplies are transported by giant jet aircraft, and the ships are now being sold as scrap.
After American scrap dealers had brought all they could use, the ships were put on the world market and countries like Germany, Spain, Taiwan, and Pakistan have bought them for as little as one hundred thousand dollars. They will be towed across oceans and melted down in blast furnaces.
Like similar fleets in other ports the ships were preserved and laid up provide a stockpile of troop and cargo vessels so that America's Merchant Marine wouldn't be short in the event of another war or emergency. The most recent departures came last week.
A gang of workmen climbed aboard the SS Lord Delaware and the Benjamin Huntington. The anchors were hoisted with the aid of a workboat berthed alongside, and then the two ships were lashed bow to bow.
Tugs and workboats were used to carry out the last operations of the ships. The ship's rudders had to be lashed amidships before the towing could begin. With the aid of tugs, the ships were Nudged around and finally the anchor of the Huntington was raised and stowed and the last voyage could ???
Sales contracts forbid any future use of the ships in world commerce and they have to be towed on their last journey. A new West German sea-going tug, the Fairplay 9, on her maiden voyage out of Hamburg attached twin two-inch diameter steel cables to the towing harness and took the ships in tow. The old liberty ships headed down the Hudson on their last voyage, towed by a German tug. Ironically, a nation they helped to defeat in World war Two.