Scenes of the City: Suisun Bay's Mothball Fleet

Scenes of the City: Suisun Bay's Mothball Fleet


For this week's Scenes of the City, we escaped to the northwest side of Suisun Bay, just outside San Francisco, where a fleet of ships from the U.S.'s naval past is slowly disappearing.

Known as the Mothball Fleet, the collection (at one point, almost 400) of U.S. Navy and merchant ships has been in the bay since the end of World War II. 

To get a closer look, we decided to trek over the nearby marsh and brave the high winds in a small kayak. About an hour into our journey—after exploring the maze of boats from the water (unfortunately, we were not able to get on to any of the ships)—we were discovered by a Homeland Security Patrol Boat and escorted back to shore.

Many of the ships have been removed in recent years due to an environmental outcry as paint flakes off and deposits lead, copper, zinc, and barium into the Sacramento River. There’s now about 10 retired Naval ships left slowly disintegrating into the Sacramento River estuary.

The entire fleet is scheduled to be removed by 2017 and the remaining boats are under surveillance by Homeland Security (you've been warned).

Enjoy the photos!

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