Archive for category Random Junk
© July 15, 2011
They are the two ships no one wanted, almost constantly embroiled in one dispute or another for the past 25 years. The two Navy behemoths have never gone on a mission, were never even completed, yet they cost taxpayers at least $300 million.
Now the vessels, the Benjamin Isherwood and the Henry Eckford, are destined to leave Virginia waters for good and be scrapped at a Texas salvage yard, with no money coming back to the U.S. Treasury.
The Isherwood, stretching more than 660 feet, began its final journey this week, unceremoniously towed Tuesday from its mooring spot in the James River Reserve Fleet, also known as the “ghost fleet,” near Fort Eus-tis in Newport News.
Its destination: International Shipbreaking Limited in Brownsville, Texas, just above the Mexico border. There, the vessel will be cut up, its innards removed and disposed of, and its steel and other metals sold as recycled products.
The Eckford, of equal size, is scheduled to follow next Tuesday, leaving behind fewer than 20 junk ships in the ghost fleet, the smallest number since its inception during World War I.
Once the two Navy oilers have departed, “it will close one of the saddest chapters in American shipbuilding and for that matter, federal fiduciary folly,” wrote Joseph Keefe, a global maritime commentator, this week on the website MaritimeProfessional.com.
In seeing the two ships headed for a scrap heap, the U.S. Maritime Administration, which oversees ghost fleets in Virginia, Texas and California, also will close one of its most contentious disposal contracts – one that spurred environmental protests on both sides of the Atlantic, caused lawsuits over American toxic dumping, and drew condemnation by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In 2003, the Maritime Administration announced a $17.8 million contract with Able UK, a shipyard in northeastern England, to dismantle 13 ghost ships from Virginia.
Able UK, which had never demolished a ship before and did not have permits to do so at the time, also was to receive the Isherwood and Eckford as perks to sweeten the deal.
Only four ghost ships arrived at the yard in Hartlepool, off the North Sea, the rest blocked by legal orders and political maneuvering. There they sat for nearly seven years before finally being recycled in late 2010, according to company and government officials.
Able UK won title rights to the Isherwood and Eckford after completing the work and took ownership in June, said Kim Riddle, a spokeswoman for the Maritime Administration, a branch of the U.S. Transportation Department.
The theory was that Able UK would finish construction of the two oilers – they were 95 percent and 84 percent complete at the time – and sell them for big dollars to a NATO ally or another friendly country.
But because the oilers were single-hulled ships, instead of the modern double-hulled standard, “we concluded that recycling was the best option,” said Peter Stephenson, Able UK’s executive chairman, in a statement released Thursday.
Neither Able UK nor International Shipbreaking would disclose the details of their scrapping contract, saying a confidentiality agreement had accompanied the deal. And since the contract did not involve the Maritime Administration, the agency declined to comment as well.
The government paid Able UK $10 million to scrap the four ghost ships from Virginia, said Riddle.
The Isherwood and Eckford were part of an 18-ship class known as the Henry J. Kaiser fleet of replenishment oilers, titans that carry oil for Navy vessels around the globe.
They were the only two that went unfinished, and were part of a 1985 budget request from the Navy for three oilers for a combined $567 million, according to records.
The two were built at the Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Co. in Philadelphia, which defaulted on its Navy contract in 1989. The ships were then sent to Florida to be finished. But disputes over costs and materials in Tampa led to the termination of that contract in 1993, according to records.
The Navy thought about turning the Isherwood and Eckford into ammunition ships, but that proved too expensive. In 1997, three years after the ships had been mothballed in the James River ghost fleet, the Navy cut its ownership ties.
Since then, the two star-crossed ships have sat idle in the middle of the James – until this week.
Scott Harper, (757) 446-2340, email@example.com
JOHANNESBURG — Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.
David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show.
“He said, ‘No, I want to watch soccer,’” police spokesman Mothemane Malefo said Thursday. “That is when the argument came about.
“In that argument, they started assaulting him.”
Malefo said Makoeya got up to change the channel by hand after being refused the remote control and was attacked by his 68-year-old wife Francina and two children, 36-year-old son Collin and 23-year-old daughter Lebogang.
Malefo said he was not sure what the family used to kill Makoeya.
“It appears they banged his head against the wall,” Malefo said. “They phoned the police only after he was badly injured, but by the time the police arrived the man was already dead.”
All three were arrested Sunday night, but Lebogang was released on $200 bail Tuesday, Malefo said. The other two are still being held in custody.
Malefo said the mother and son will reappear in the local Seshego Magistrates Court on July 27.
“He was always a happy man, never violent,” Makoeya’s nieces, Miriam and Anna, told the Daily Sun newspaper. “On Saturday, we saw him the last time at a funeral.”
The World Cup, being played in Africa for the first time, started Friday and runs through July 11. Although most the tickets for the 64-game tournament have been sold, many in South Africa are too poor to attend matches.
Courtesy of abduzeedo.com
The following are images of pretty cool items that were part of a pretty cool contest. The Spring Greening Design Competition challenged designers, artists and crafters to transform useless junk into beautiful products, and the result is a list of very interesting and creative pieces. We will show here a list with some of the finalists and the winners of the competition.
You can click on each image to learn more about the piece and it’s designer.
Who Are Your Winners?