Last mothball fleet vessel leaves Suisun Bay

Vallejo Times Herald, 07/26/2017

With the departure Tuesday of The Cape Borda (AK 5058) from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, the last of the National Defense Reserve Fleet non-retention vessels will have left the area, Department of Transportation officials said.

The ship, which is scheduled for dry-docking at Mare Island Dry Dock, brings to 57 the total number of ships that have departed the fleet site since October 2009, when the Maritime Administration initiated an effort to improve the surrounding environment and clean up the Fleet, officials said.

“The Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet will still maintain vessels to support military contingencies and national emergencies,” Department of Transportation-Maritime Administration spokesman Rodney McNany said. “The Cape Borda however, is the last non-retention vessel that was part of the 57 non-retention vessels of the 2010 Consent Decree, to depart the fleet.”

The vessel will be cleaned of marine growth in dry-dock before departing for Brownsville, Texas, where it will be recycled at All Star Metals, LLC, officials said.

The break-bulk cargo ship was built as the SS Howell Lykes at Avondale Shipyards near Westwego, La., for Lykes Brothers Steamship Company in 1967, officials said.

After serving Lykes Brothers in the commercial trade for nearly two decades, the U.S. government acquired the vessel and renamed it Cape Borda, they said and it was assigned to the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Ready Reserve Fleet in 1985.

Between January 1991 and August 1991, Cape Breton participated in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm by transporting military supplies from the U.S. to Al Jubayl and Ad Dammam Saudi Arabia, and from Guam to Diego Garcia in support of U.S. and coalition forces, they said.

Cape Borda was maintained in a reduced operating status in Alameda, “until it was laid-up in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in July of 2003,” officials said. The ship was downgraded from retention status to non-retention status on July 31, 2006.