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The Mothball Fleet

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 24 February 2011 in Business & Industry and Portfolio.

The view from above the three Benicia Bridges spanning the Carquinez Strait - facing east into Suisun Bay. This is the iconic 'Mothball Fleet' of old and surplus ships that are mostly destined for scrap. A new facility has just opened in the nearby town of Vallejo that holds the contracts for dismantling 50 of these vessels. Heretofore - these ships would have to be towed overseas to India or Pakistan - or through the Panama Canal to facilities on the East Coast of the U.S.

The geography of the waterways through central California is fascinating. It begins with the two major rivers form the Central Valley of California; the Sacramento to the north - and The San Joaquin to the south. About 8 miles (13 km) east of here they both empty into this body of water, Suisun Bay.

At the point where I made this capture, Suisun Bay then narrows into the 5 mile (8 km) long Carquinez Strait which turns and flows west before flowing into San Pablo Bay. Twenty miles south, that bay then opens into San Francisco Bay - just above the Golden Gate - where the waters of the interior valleys can finally join the open ocean.

This 'larger view' contains a 'view map' link where you can zoom-out and explore this area should you wish:

Larger view:

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

Mirjam from Kyiv, Ukraine

Beautiful view and beautiful colors.

24 Feb 2011 6:45am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

A fantastic squad!

24 Feb 2011 8:32am

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

Amazing and mysterious shot - the ghosts of sea voyages past. The colour and texture of the sea adds to the surreal effect.

24 Feb 2011 12:34pm

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

Lotta memories good and bad stored out there . .

24 Feb 2011 12:43pm

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

A fantastic view across the water at this ghost fleet, do you know some local councils in the UK would prefer to send ships abroad for breaking? "Environmental concerns" - duh - don't they want the work?

24 Feb 2011 1:16pm

David from Detroit, United States

Great shot. I had to open a map to follow along and place this scene. Great story, too.

24 Feb 2011 2:35pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

Invincible Armada :-)

24 Feb 2011 5:36pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

A Beautiful job not only on this image but on your fantastic geographical narrative, Stephen! It's always great to here stories and information given about territory that is so dear to me and once was so near to me!Again, I like what your settings did for the water...I remember these ships sitting out there...we just passed over the bridge last year.

24 Feb 2011 8:42pm

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

Wow how amazingly strange.

25 Feb 2011 2:29am