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Diego Garcia Earns $133,000 from Selling Scrap

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061013-09
Release Date: 10/13/2006 3:28:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jonathen E. Davis, Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia Public Affairs

DIEGO GARCIA, British Indian Ocean Territory (NNS) -- The first of three loads of scrap metal were removed from Diego Garcia Oct. 9, the result of selling the unusable material to a contractor.

According to Linda Corpus, Diego Garcia's environmental coordinator, the majority of the 10 million pounds of scrap accumulated on the island will be removed.

“We do not have any disposal options on Diego Garcia for all the scrap items other than shipping it off the island,” explained Corpus. “This is a rare opportunity for the island- to be able to get a contractor to bring in a ship and collect what we have accumulated in the past four years.”

The scrap metal and other unusable items came from military personnel, contractors, and a couple combat units from the area. The organizations pulled the scrap together and put it up for bid, said Ens. Scott Schwemin, ship store officer for Diego Garcia. To get rid of the scrap in the past, the Defense Reutilization and Marketing System (DRMS) would handle the removal.

“Excess property has been removed from remote sites in the past, but the movement was paid for by the generating activities,” explained DRMS Asia and Pacific Operations Manager, Jon Mitsuyasu.

Diego Garcia had been sending the unused scrap to the Defense Reutilization Marketing Office in Fort Lewis, Wash.

“It has been costing the island a lot to ship the scrap with no return at all,” said Mitsuyasu.

Schwin said it was a process to make the removal happen.

“I came up with an international contract for bid through DRMS, where we put all the scrap up for sale and the winning bidder would come down to pick it up from us,” explained Schwemin. “We wouldn't have to pay for the shipping, and the government would save a lot of money from this. And it worked!”

Corpus said she is excited that the plan finally worked.

“We tried to do this before but no one put up for bid, but this time we just got lucky,” said Corpus. “It’s probably because we have more items to offer or probably the requirements were perfect this time.”

Mitsuyasu said that he hopes Diego Garcia will be opening the door for other U.S. bases and facilities.

“We will use this sale as an example that it can be done,” said Mitsuyasu. “[Bases and facilities] can decide if they want to pay to remove property or attempt a sale as Diego Garcia did.”

Schwin said he agrees.

“As opposed to spending a million dollars, as opposed to having all the scrap sitting in the yard rusting; I hope this method will be another option that bases can use to get rid of all the scrap that they have,” said Schwemin.

Schwemin also said that the money Diego Garcia got from the sale won't go to waste.

"Its good for Diego Garcia. The $133,000 was put into our environmental account which we already used to buy a new aluminum can crusher and bailer ... and for a couple of other projects in sight,” said Schwemin.

Big Iron Trading will make two more trips to finish loading the scrap they bought off the island.

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