Invitation For Bids

ex-USS Constant (MSO-426)
ex-USS Endurance (MSO-435)
ex-USS Guide (MSO-447)
ex-USS Loyalty (MSO-457)

ex-USS Skill
ex-USS Skill (MSO-471)

Scrapped in 1983 in Kearny, NJ., The picture in the scrap yard is just as they were starting to cut up the bridge area. One can't see any cut up work going on but the rest of the ship is pretty weather beaten. You can still see the faded numbers 471 on the bow however. This has got to be the last picture ever taken of the Skill.
Courtesy of Dave Vennard

Invitation For Bids

ex-USS Engage (MSO-433)
ex-USS Impervious (MSO-449)
ex-USS Leader (MSO-490)
ex-USS Adroit (MSO-509)

Ex-USS Illusive (MSO-448)
Scrapped in 1993, 1994


Congress authorized the Ship Disposal Pilot Project for the U.S. Navy in 1998. This Project will test new methods of ship scrapping as well as quantify the costs associated with ship scrapping. The Navy awarded four contracts totaling $13.3 million for the scrapping of four vessels under the Ship Disposal Pilot Project. The contracts provide for cost plus incentive fees which rewards for superior contractor performance. If the contractors are successful in scrapping the first four vessels, they will be given the opportunity to scrap up to 66 other vessels.

Navy Ship Disposal Project

NAVSEA Begins New Era In Ship Disposals

Courtesy of NAVSEA Public Affairs, NAVSEA Newswire, October 1, 1999

The Naval Sea Systems Command entered into a new era of dismantling U.S. Navy ships on Sept. 29, 1999 with the award of four contracts for the dismantling of the Navy's decommissioned vessels. These contracts will be used to obtain cost data for dismantling ships in the United States, and to demonstrate environmentally sound and cost effective methods for disposal.

After problems occurred in 1995 and 1996 under ship disposal sales contracts, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology established an interagency panel to address the issue of disposal of excess U.S. government ships. A key recommendation of the panel was to carry out a pilot project to quantify the scope and costs associated with ship disposal in private industry. The contracts for the pilot phase of the Navy's Ship Disposal Project, totaling $12.6 million, have built-in incentives for environmental and safety compliance, with the proceeds of the scrap metal credited to the cost of the contract. Previously, purchasers paid the government for the right to dispose ships and depended on the scrap metal value exceeding the costs of dismantling and hazardous waste disposal.

Industry responses have shown a high degree of innovation and the ability of multiple companies to participate in ship disposal. The pilot phase will, for the first time, provide realistic cost data for the safe and sound dismantling of ships in compliance with all environmental and worker safety laws. Accurate data will also allow the Navy to determine if additional ships should be disposed of under this method.

Fifteen firms submitted technical and cost proposals for evaluation. Four contract awards were chosen on the basis of the best overall value to the government. Work is scheduled to begin immediately with the towing of the ships to the contractors' facilities. The work will be performed at the following locations:

San Francisco - Ship Dismantling and Recycling Joint Venture will dismantle ex-Lockwood (FF 1064)

Brownsville, Tex. - International Shipbreaking Ltd. will dismantle ex-Bagley (FF 1069)

Philadelphia - Metro Machine Corporation will dismantle ex-Blakely (FF 1072)

The Baltimore Sun
Friday July 21, 2000

By Gus G. Sentementes

Congress is set to appropriate $38 million for U.S.-based shipbreaking operations, continuing a pilot program set up two years ago to dismantle retired military ships in ways that are safe for workers and the environment.
The conference report, HR-4576, passed the House on a vote of 207-159 yesterday, and is expected to be passed by the Senate today, said a spokeswoman for Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland.
President Clinton is expected to sign the measure, the spokeswoman said.
"This is a big win for the Navy, a big win for the country, a big win for the environment and it could be a big win for Maryland and potentially for the port of Baltimore," Mikulski said through the spokeswoman.
Competition for lucrative shipbreaking contracts was tight among companies during the past fiscal year as the Navy awarded about $15 million in contracts.
With more than double the money available for the next fiscal year, the pace of dismantling retired defense ships is expected to quicken, and shipbreaking companies could get more contracts congressional spokesmen said.
Baltimore Marine Industries Inc., the Sparrows Point shipyard that dismantled the USS Patterson last year under a $3.8 million contract with the Navy, plans to be in the running for future contracts.
"Our employees are proud of the job that they did in the dismantling of the ex-Patterson," said Steven Sullivan, vice president of BMI. "Their exceptional performance in protecting safety and health and the environment has just been recognized by the Navy. We look forward to our next ship-breaking opportunity."
While BMI landed the Patterson contract last year, it recently lost another multimillion dollar shipbreaking contract to Metro Machine Corp. of Philadelphia. The contract would have meant an additional 200 jobs for BMI, which now has about 500 employees.
The Department of Defense receives funding for shipbreaking operations, and the Department of the Navy awards contracts for each ship that is scrapped. More than 60 inactive defense ships are in line to be scrapped, according to Mikulski's office.
Clinton initially requested $12 million for 2001, but Mikulski requested an additional $16 million through a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Sen. Ted Stevens, a Republican from Alaska who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, tacked on another $10 million.
Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, had secured the initial $12 million for Clinton, a congressional spokeswoman said.


That's the bad news the good news is:


HR 4576 EAS

In the Senate of the United States,

June 13, 2000.

Resolved, That the bill from the House of Representatives (H.R. 4576) entitled `An Act making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001, and for other purposes.', do pass with the following


SEC. 8125. In addition to the amounts provided elsewhere in this Act, the amount of $10,000,000 $38,000,000 is hereby appropriated for `Operation and Maintenance, Navy', to accelerate the disposal and scrapping of ships of the Navy Inactive Fleet and Maritime Administration National Defense Reserve Fleet: Provided, That the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Transportation shall develop criteria for selecting ships for scrapping or disposal based on their potential for causing pollution, creating an environmental hazard and cost of storage: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Transportation shall report to the congressional defense committees no later than June 1, 2001 regarding the total number of vessels currently designated for scrapping, and the schedule and costs for scrapping these vessels.

The Dismantling of Excel, Constant, Enhance & Esteem

The Navy funded its existing diving and salvage contractor, Crowley Marine Services, to accomplish this work in compliance with all environmental and occupational safety laws and regulations.

All historical items were previously removed for the Curator of the Navy approximately five years ago. Likewise, all shelf items were previously removed for turn-in to the supply system approximately five years ago.

During the current dismantling at Mare Island, Calif., (undated Satellite photo) all hazardous materials were first removed from the ship pierside using a licensed and certified abatement contractor, along with as much non-ferrous metals as possible.

The ship was then hoisted up a submarine shipway using a specially designed skid on a marine rail. Tractor mounted hydraulic shears were used to dismantle the vessel out of the water on the shipway. Upon completion of the dismantling, the wood debris was removed and the site was cleaned up within three days.

The dismantling contributes to the Navy's mission by allowing limited resources to be used to train today's sailors and to modernize the Navy, rather than to maintain vessels that have no further naval requirement.

Also, the components of the MSOs are providing service to the U.S. economy via the recycling of the non-ferrous metals, thereby reducing the pollution created from manufacturing equivalent tonnage from virgin materials.

Glen Clark, Navy Sea System Command, 2/2000


Ex-USS Excel (MSO-439)
Removed from Suisun Bay 7/27/99 and disposed of in January 2000

Ex-USS Constant (MSO-427)
Removed from Suisun Bay 9/29/99 and has been broken up
I need pictures, can anybody help?


March 6, 2000, Contract for scrapping awarded to Crowley Marine Services, Long Beach, CA for $1.7 million

Ex-USS Enhance (MSO-437)

Ex-USS Esteem (MSO-438)
Enhance and Esteem have been scrapped, Early April they did go to Crowley Marine. Both ships were scrapped in July, 2000

ALSO Got this guestbook entry on May 12, 2000 from Scott Steffen, Gig Harbor, WA. USS Pledge
I currently work as a deckhand for Crowley Marine. I was on the Escort Eagle, the assist tug that helped the tug Mercury make tow for the Enhance and Esteem. I was able to walk the decks of a sweep one last time, and I will say it took me back. I am glad to see a web site for the old sweeps. I was discharged in Aug 89, and think of my 6 yrs in the service often. Just wanted to let you know that these sweeps were sent for dismantling by an "Iron Man" Thanks!



The last six MSO's at Baltimore Marine have been scrapped. With their passing there are now NO MSO's in U.S. Government possession.

The demolition of the final six took place, we believe, in January 2002.

The minesweepers have been completely dismantled and disposed. There are no items remaining for sale.

BMI-Jan 15, 2001
First Time on an MSO since October 27, 1967....Dick Lewis
LR..Al Hines, Dick Lewis, Roger Taylor (BMI), Harry Keith, Rick Szpyrka

Pictures of the Last 6 MSO's 15 Jan 2001 in Baltimore, being readied for scrapping. 6 pages of photos.







This message was received from the Chief of Naval Operations February 4th, 2000:

"Regrettably, because of their condition, the Navy does not plan to retain an MSO on donation hold. These wooden hulled ships deteriorate rapidly and are among those vessels in the worst condition in the Inactive Fleet. Consequently, the few remaining MSO's in the Navy's custody, six on the East Coast and two on the West, are currently at the top of the scrapping list."

We have since found out that the CNO (Admiral Jay L. Johnson ) was in favor of us getting an MSO but SECNAV himself (Richard Danzig ) turned us down because the Navy was afraid if they let one of the ships go, they might, in the future, be liable for environmental problems because of the wood hulls being permeated with oil and hazardous substances. The Navy was threatened with a lawsuit because of another (metal) ship that was not properly taken care of, so they were not going to take any chances. Well, at least we know the story and, hey, it actually did go right to the top. We got their attention.

December 4, 2000. Contract for scrapping awarded to Baltimore Marine Industries, Baltimore, MD for $4.1 million

BMI,Temporary Pass 
Dick Lewis January 15, 2001

The four MSO's in Portsmouth (Norfolk), USS EXPLOIT (MSO-440), USS AFFRAY (MSO-511), USS EXULTANT (MSO-441),and USS FORTIFY (MSO-446)
departed the facility at 1200 (Noon) EST on 14 December 2000 heading for Baltimore Marine for scrapping.

The three in Philadelphia are USS ENGAGE (MSO-433), USS IMPERVIOUS (MSO-449), served in Desert Storm, and the seventh ship is MHC 43, BITTERN and were removed on December 13, 2000 (per Glen Clark, NavSea)

While the ships were still in the water, the contractor started work on 12-18-2000, remediating the ships of any environmentally hazardous materials (lead paint, PCBs, etc). The ships are scheduled to be taken out of the water sometime in June, 2001. They will then be dismantled using hydraulic machinery, the metal and wood being seperated and hauled off to a waste disposal site. Some equipment will be offered for sale.

Baltimore Marine Inc.
Baltimore, Maryland

Sparrows Point Scrapping,12-8-2000 Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun, 12-8-2000

Baltimore, MD

ShipYard Overview

January 15, 2001

The four MSO's in Portsmouth (Norfolk), USS EXPLOIT (MSO-440), USS AFFRAY (MSO-511), USS EXULTANT (MSO-441),and USS FORTIFY (MSO-446)
departed the facility at 1200 (Noon) EST on 14 December 2000 heading for Baltimore Marine for scrapping.

The three in Philadelphia are USS ENGAGE (MSO-433), USS IMPERVIOUS (MSO-449), served in Desert Storm, and the seventh ship is MHC 43, BITTERN and were removed on December 13, 2000 (per Glen Clark, NavSea)

They will start "working" on the first four ships on Monday, December 18, 2000.

From: Baker Charles E Jr CDR SPCN
Sent: Friday, December 15, 2000 2:42 PM
To: 'Mathis, William W'
I just returned (literally) from the Baltimore Marine Industries Facility where the ships will be dismantled.......
Four ships were towed to Baltimore from Portsmouth, Virginia this week and are due pierside at BMI at 1800 today (12-15-2000). The contractor has a very aggressive schedule to scrap the ships...The contractor will start work on Monday (12-18-2000) remediating the ships of any environmentally hazardous materials (lead paint, PCBs, etc). Anticipate the contractor will have all four ships in dock within the next two weeks and dismantled within the next six. We will have a more detailed production schedule by Monday (12-18-2000). Three more ships will arrive from Philadelphia by Wednesday (12-20-2000) next week, similar scenario........
I must say, their schedule will be extremely aggressive, so time will be limited. I do not know what is left onboard but the ships have been declassified and remediated of asbestos, so they may be a pretty torn up. At least one ship was taking on water so their condition is deteriorated significantly.

The ships will not be taken out of the water until sometime in March. As of now BMI personel are removing all hazardious material.

The ships will not be taken out of the water until sometime in June.

From Dave Janowitz USS Avenge (MSO-423)
A fellow I work with called me today and he said he was coming back from Ocean City, Md. He was coming over the Key Bridge from the south and he said the minesweepers are still in the water at BMI. He use to work at the shipyard years ago. He said they were (still) at pier #3 next to the drydock. Some other ship was in the drydock, so I guess they are waiting until that ship gets repaired before they start munching.

From Dave Janowitz USS Avenge (MSO-423)
They are still in the water but they were moved. The ships are next to the "graving dock" (A dry dock where the hulls of ships are repaired and maintained) where they will be munched. Eventually they WILL be destroyed.

From Mike Warren USS Fortify MSO-446)
BMI reports that "The dismantling project is on hold until Late October or early November".

Still waiting
BMI, September, 2001
Still waiting, next to the "graving dock"
Courtesy of James Maher, USS Fortify (MSO-446)

From Dave Janowitz USS Avenge (MSO-423)
This note is to let you fellows know that today heading back to work we went over the Key Bridge. Today was exceptionally clear so the view to BMI was perfect. There they were, still floating proudly, OUR LADIES. The dry-docks were loaded with other Navy work so I guess they got another reprieve. Just thought you guys would like to keep posted.

From Dave Janowitz USS Avenge (MSO-423)
Went over the Key bridge on Wed. coming back from airport and noticed that the "LADIES" were gone. The yard has about three huge fast response Navy ships there probably for repair. The dry-dock was being used also. They may have moved to another site not visible from bridge, or to some other berthing facility. I can't believe they were munched that quick.

The final demolition was completed by mid January, 2002.


BNS J. E. van Haverbeke M902

In a scrap yard in Amsterdam Harbor, Netherlands
Scrapped in the summer of 2002

Ship identification courtesy of Paul Haaze

MSO Amsterdam
Photo taken March 18, 2002
Courtesy of Hans Koolma

MSO Amsterdam
Photo taken March 18, 2002
Courtesy of Hans Koolma

MSO Amsterdam
Photo taken November 13th 2001
Courtesy of Piet Sinke

MSO Amsterdam
Photo taken November 13th 2001
Courtesy of Piet Sinke


EX MSO-485, ex Onverdroten M889, A859

Location and date unknown

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