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James River VA

The National Defense Reserve Fleet (NRDF), under the custody of MARAD, is an inactive reserve source of basic Merchant design type ships that could be activated within 20 - 120 days to meet the shipping requirements of the United States during national emergencies. These merchant vessels are available for use in both military and non-military emergencies, such as commercial shipping crises. Ships in the NDRF are regionally located at three fleet sites - James River, VA (East Coast), Beaumont, TX (Gulf Coast), and Suisun Bay, CA (West Coast). Naval auxiliaries are maintained at the fleet by MARAD on a retention basis for the Navy.

Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis was successful in securing $20 million dollars in funding for removal of a portion of the James River Fleet, otherwise known as the Ghost Fleet, in the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, which passed the House 409-14 in October 2002. Davis, who got $20 million placed in the authorization legislation this Spring as a Member of the House Merchant Marine Panel responsible for MARAD funding, hailed this funding as a significant victory for the Commonwealth.

"These Ghost Fleet ships are an environmental disaster waiting to happen, and this funding will remove some of the worst ships in the fleet," said Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis. "This has been a long, arduous battle, and I am very pleased that all the hard work paid off. Now we can get rid of some of these ships that serve as a constant threat to the Peninsula area," added Davis, who thanked Senator John Warner for his work on the Senate side to secure this funding. "Senator Warner and I have worked closely this year on the Ghost Fleet problem, and I thank him for his diligence," continued Davis. Davis was able to get the funding in the authorization legislation, and Warner was able to get the funding placed in the appropriations legislation.

Davis, who serves on the Merchant Marine Panel responsible for MARAD funding, has lobbied for Ghost Fleet funding since her arrival in Congress. Davis, along with securing funding in the authorization legislation this spring, has brought Merchant Marine Panel Chairman Duncan Hunter down the tour the Fleet, and has also lobbied the White House on this issue. Numerous meetings with the White House as well as MARAD have been instrumental in bringing this issue to the forefront.

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