Brownsville Company Wins Contract for Ship Disposal of Navy Ships

Date: April 12, 2006
Location: Washington, DC


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz today announced that he was told by the U.S. Department of Maritime Administration (MARAD) that Marine Metals in Brownsville won a contract for over $3.5 million to dispose of five out-of-use Navy ships (four in California and one in Virginia).

Ortiz has been an advocate for greater transparency from MARAD, particularly after a GAO report he requested in 2003 indicated unfair practices in MARAD's awarding of such contracts. "Ship breakers" in South Texas add tremendously to the area economy.

"Ship breaking - which is done in only a few places around the country - is a profitable industry for South Texas," Ortiz said. "The ship disposal contracts are for four ships located in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in California and one in the James River Reserve Fleet. The price of the 4-ship total is $3,302,650. The contract price for the one out of the James River Reserve Fleet (the Saugatuck) is $352,000. The Saugatuck has been an eyesore in Virginia for quite some time, so they will be very glad to see it leave."

"I am pleased that MARAD has improved their processes in the conduct of the awarding of contracts," Ortiz said. "When any federal agency awards no-bid contracts or awards contracts to businesses that do not have the experience to do the work at a better price to the taxpayer, we all lose. The ship breakers in South Texas provide an important contribution to our national defense and the American taxpayers."

"This has been a matter we have taken up multiple times in my House Armed Services Committee and other members and I had to be very persistent with the Department of Transportation (the agency in charge of MARAD) on improving their practices," Ortiz said.