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year.72 One would suspect that the proven economic benefits of ship recycling in these clear examples would steer the Navy’s ship disposal program toward ship recycling. But instead, the Navy continued to sink five vessels in 2010 via SINKEX following the successful recycling of the above mentioned vessels. The Navy’s plans to sink additional vessels in 2011 adds to the confusion of SINKEX cost rationalization.

Another vessel, the Ex-PROTEUS was sold for recycling in 2008 to Esco Marine in Brownsville, Texas, for a total cost to the Navy

of $1,431,500.73

In comparing this to the

$800,000 cost estimate for SINKEX, at first glance it appears that SINKEX is economically beneficial in this instance. However, as mentioned above in the case of the Ex- AMERICA, SINKEX cost estimates only account for environmental remediation costs and do not account for storage, towing, weaponry, fleet support and the many other costs associated with SINKEX.

If we simply consider the vessel remediation

costs

and estimated costs

of towing

($1

million74) the vessel from California to Hawaii, where it would have likely taken part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercises (RIMPAC) SINKEX event, the total SINKEX costs for the Ex- PROTEUS would have been approximately $1.8 million. When this simple cost comparison is made, domestic recycling actually saved the

U.S. taxpayer $368,500 (not externalized costs discussed below).

counting

One final example, the Ex-MONTICELLO, a Thomaston-class dock landing ship, was sunk in July 2010 at RIMPAC at an estimated cost to the Navy of $915,548. Adding to that figure the

http://www.themonitor.com/articles/gets-32824-arrival- navy.html 72

73

http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/July2007ReportToCongre ss.pdf

Calculated on the basis of Commercial towing estimate for the Monticello 74

INTERNALIZED COSTS

towing cost estimate of $750,000,75 and the Navy incurred costs of approximately $1,665,548. Taking into consideration the Ex- MONTICELLO’s sister ships, the Ex- PLYMOUTH ROCK and Ex-FORT SNELLING, which were each sold to Peck Recycling of Richmond Virginia for recycling in 1995 for a positive cash flow of $268,707 each, the sinking of the MONTICELLO was done so at a surprising financial loss. In view of the fact that these exercises can take place with alternative means as described at the outset, these few examples show where SINKEX is clearly not providing a best value solution to the government, yet the Navy continues to mask the true costs of this ship disposal program in order

to

continue

business

as

usual.

The Ex- NEW ORLEANS was sunk via SINKEX during summer 2010, along with four other vessels: the Ex- ANCHORAGE, Ex- MONTICELLO, Ex-ACADIA and Ex-SATURN. These five vessels contributed an estimated 47,521 tons of recyclable material, worth an estimated $29 million, to the depths of the sea, forfeiting approximately 1,692 jobs from the economy at large while unemployment rates remained steady at 9.5%. Image Source: Australian Defense Force, RIMPAC 2010

75

Commercial towing estimate, Compass Maritime Services BASEL ACTION NETWORK

29

2011

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