Navy scraps plans to sink four of five retired asbestos ships

April 25th, 2011

Environmental officials recently announced that the U.S. Navy has scrapped plans to sink four retired warships off the coast of Maryland, rather than recycling the retired vessels. The head of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says that the Navy’s decision will not affect plans to sink a fifth ship, which will be sunk later this year.

In preparation for the sinking of the destroyer, crews at a shipyard in Philadelphia have begun removing asbestos and other hazardous materials from the ship. Many U.S. Navy vessels that were built decades ago contain asbestos materials that were used as insulation or as heat shields on ship parts.

A spokesman for the Naval Sea Systems Command says that the Navy’s decision not to scrap the four other ships was made in response to the rising price of scrap metal. Environmental groups have stated that the fifth ship should also be recycled and not sunk due to the environmental hazard it could create from the asbestos and other materials onboard.

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