Wednesday, May 14, 2014

110-foot WPB for sale through GSA. Where will she go?

Another cutter is for sale through GSA. This time, the tonnage of the 110-foot BAINBRIDGE ISLAND (WPB-1343) correctly falls under disposal through GSA. It's also unlikely that there are hazardous materials on board because of the build date. As this is posted, the price is already $100K, $30K more than what STORIS sold for in June 2013. STORIS was in excellent condition and while not as fast, had much more capability than this 110.

STORIS' displacement made her disposal legally mandated through MARAD, not GSA. She also likely contained hazardous materials that would have made her disposal and sale from the Coast Guard illegal, as well as her export. As a U.S. military ship, STORIS should not have been exported for scrapping. In the end, GSA practically gave STORIS away to be illegally exported for scrapping in Mexico. For what GSA received as a pittance for payment, STORIS could have been donated to the STORIS Museum and Last Patrol Museum to reap cultural and economic benefits far beyond what the government received.

The Coast Guard refers to aspects of BAINBRIDGE ISLAND as historic. While she did start  her career as the first cutter to have a minority female as CO (now Capt. Katherine Favery Tiongson), BAINBRIDGE ISLAND is not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as she is less than 50 years old and is not otherwise exceptional in construction or accomplishment to justify listing on the Register.

STORIS was listed as nationally significant on the National Register of Historic Places.

Despite having two viable nonprofits seeking custody of STORIS for preservation and use as an active museum/training vessel, the Federal Government sold STORIS at auction for a mere $70,100 to a so-called "metals recycling" firm that spent the rest of the summer of 2013 unsuccessfully trying to extort from the nonprofits up to five times what was paid for the ship. The buyer, U.S. Metals Recycling of San Diego, did not have the necessary facilities to scrap the ship domestically and had to resort to illegally exporting the ship to Mexico in order to make what could only have been a razor-thin profit by taking advantage of lower labor costs and lax environmental regulation in Mexico.

Where will BAINBRIDGE ISLAND go? Will this U.S. military ship go to scrap overseas in violation of Section 3502 of the 2009 Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act? Will the U.S. Government again break the law they put in place to prevent our American military ships from going to lesser-developed countries for breaking?

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