I'm Overwhelmed at the response to the thread! Thanks everybody. Anybody want to guess how long it'll take the American Racer to get from the Panama Canal to Brownsville?
In case you don't know, the U.S. Government found the American Racer eligible for the National Register (landmark status) before they nonetheless decided to pay to have her scrapped.
In addition to being one of the first class of substantially automated steamships, she was also the first containership to cross the North Atlantic, and was also involved in "Operation Frequent Wind", the final evacuation of Vietnam. I have been fighting to preserve her, and set up a couple of websites for this purpose, one of which is here: http://www.myspace.com/ssamericanracer
Lest anyone doubt whether this country is being mismanaged in a way consistent with a future third world status, look at the example of the SS Bay, which is being towed from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in CALIFORNIA
to Chesapeake, Virginia
so that Bay Bridge Enterprises can then be paid to scrap her. Since the Gov't is paying to have the scrapping done, I think it's a safe assumption that they're paying for that really long
tow as well.
Not long ago I found an internet article from a newspaper in that area, explaining how since the Gov't has stopped scrapping ships in the Virginia Reserve Fleet (JRRF), near by Bay Bridge Enterprises, the business has barely survived, and that this deal with the SS Bay (as above) was really going to be a Godsend for them. It must be nice to have the government decide to make such an extremely expensive effort, at our expense, to keep one particular business going. I would like to be able to understand what the criteria for this special treatment is, however.
And to clarify the "third world" aspect of my comments, they are spending massive amounts of taxpayer money to keep scrapyard employers and employees going, and this will prepare our industry for what? Future competition with (Alang) India's untouchables? God forbid, they spend some stimulus money fixing up some historic landmark ships (SS United States, American Racer, Mission Santa Ynez, and others) and the employees and industry would get skills & experience that could be used to create economic value, rather than destroy it. There is no question
as to the difference in skill required between ship construction & repair vs. ship scrapping. And anyone who is aware of our recent problems with ships delivered to the Navy ( see here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=active&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us%3AIE-SearchBox&q=san+antonio+class+problems&aq=1sx&aqi=g-sx6g-msx1&aql=&oq=san+antoino+class
+ ), knows why our folks could use the practice. And fixing up just parts of a few old, historic ships, would be a lot cheaper than building new ones that no one needs & trying to sell them (1950's Mariner program; won't work now) let alone this LPD 17 fiasco.
Here's some links to why the American Racer is so historic:http://books.google.com/books?id=_NMDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA86&dq=american%20racer%20popular%20mechanics%20august%201966&pg=PA92#v=onepage&q&f=falsehttp://www.efootage.com/stock-footage/76162/Automated_Ship_American_Racer/http://books.google.com/books?id=42zZ6NrwMjEC&lpg=PA86&dq=box%20boats%20american%20racer&pg=PA86#v=onepage&q&f=falsehttp://www.history.navy.mil/seairland/chap5.htmhttp://www.usmm.org/vietnam.htmlhttp://www.ussvega.com/page-16/htms/SS%20American%20Racer.htmhttp://www.marines.mil/news/publications/Documents/U.S.%20Marines%20in%20Vietnam_The%20Bitter%20End%201973-1975%20%20PCN%201900310900_10.pdf
(see pages 219 & 221)