This Feb. 8 2002 photo is of the Port of Brownsville

Click the image to view a close up of that area.
International Shipbreaking Limited, has scrapped the first Neosho Class Oiler in the
2nd quarter of 2005 at 18501 R.L.Rosters Rd. within yellow marked area above.

Reports by  MARAD and Others

View: OTHER Dismantleing PHOTOS

International Shipbreaking Limited - Port of Brownsville
18501 R.L. Ostos Road, Port of Brownsville, Brownsville, TX 78521
 Tel: 956-831-2299 or 800-438-2605 Fax: 956-831-4112

Questions and requests for information should be directed to Michael Donovan,
Director and Co-Founder, at 800-438-2605

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Behind barbed-wire fences and squintingly small entrance signs, the shipbreaking yards sit almost anonymously on the banks of the Brownsville Ship Channel , three miles from the Mexico border.Workers park their beat-up cars nearby in rutted lots. They cross paths every day with asbestos, lead, PCBs and other toxics lurking in the old ships they dismantle, earning about $7 an hour . 

On this hard, flat landscape, amid palm trees and Hispanic rap music, the capital of the U.S. shipbreaking industry is re-emerging – and Virginia is a big reason why.

In 2004, 11 junk ships from the James River Reserve Fleet, nicknamed the Ghost Fleet, were towed from Hampton Roads to their graves in Brownsville. It was one of largest exoduses of these environmentally risky relics from the historic James in years. Their scrapping will take months to complete.

No other ports outside of Brownsville – not yards in Virginia or Baltimore or Alabama – have received more ship-disposal contracts in the past four years from the U.S. Maritime Administration, the government caretaker of the Ghost Fleet and two smaller collections of mothballed ships, in Texas and California. It appears the trend will continue, at least as long as federal money remains available, and if south Texas officials have their way.

Copyright © 2004 The Maritime Executive.
2125 SE 10th Avenue, Ste 1019
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Ghost Fleet" Heading for Mexico and Turkey
The U.S. Maritime Administration must scrap some 77 decommissioned Navy ships by September, 2006. One holdup is the cost, and another involves environmental rules.

If the ships are scrapped overseas, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have to waive federal laws that forbid exporting hazardous waste. The money-strapped U.S. Maritime Administration has been struggling to rid fleets of languishing ships in Virginia, Texas, and California by a September, 2006 deadline set by Congress. The Texas and California reserves total 77 ships.

Environmental Recycling Systems, a shipyard in Aliaga, Turkey, posed scrapping the ships in yards in Turkey and Mexico. Dismantling the ships in developing countries is cheaper, because of lower labor costs and high demand for scrapped materials.

Denny Vaughan, ERS senior partner, says that their shipyards shouldn't be compared to those in India and Bangladesh, which have been shown to have deplorable conditions. ERS workers wear protective clothing, and conform to EPA standards.

The Turkey – Mexico plan has been in the works for almost two years.

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