It took blood, sweat, tears, and seawater to finish this story on the past and future of the bay’s Mothball Fleet. It just aired this evening on KALW’s Crosscurrents, and now you can listen to it anytime. Click below and sail away.
After World War Two, Suisun Bay was a west coast port for the navy’s largest ships. The first grey goliaths arrived in the bay in 1946, and continued coming in over the following decades. They were meant to be a reserve fleet – so in theory, if the Navy ever needed extra ships, this is where they would get them. But for the most part, they never have needed them. And over time, the fleet has become a graveyard – a graveyard that needs a lot of upkeep.
In 2007, an environmental group sued the government over the condition of the fleet. In 2010, they won, and now almost all of the Mothballed boats are on their way out. And as they go, so will a hefty part of the Bay Area’s naval history.