International Shipbreaking LLC, (ISL) part of EMR, one of the world's leading metal recyclers has been awarded a U.S. Maritime Administration contract to transport, strip and recycle the decommissioned barge carrier SS Cape Florida (AK 5071).
After being awarded the contract on July 6th 2020, ISL made preparations to tow the Cape Florida from US Maritime Administration Ready Reserve Fleet in Beaumont, Texas (BRRF) to its facility at the Port of Brownsville, Texas, where she arrived on August 13th 2020.
Built at Avondale Industries Corp. New Orleans, LA in 1970. Cape Florida is a Maritime Administration (C8-S-81b) design Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) Barge Carrier. LASH Barge Carriers transport light unpowered barges “Lighters” and are commonly called “Kangaroo Ships”. She is equipped with a large gantry crane system capable of lifting these barges out of the water for loading and placing them back in the water at the destination.
Reacquired by the U.S. Maritime Administration in 1987, the SS Cape Florida deployed to many locations around the world, from the Suez Canal in Egypt to Dammam in Saudi Arabia, as well as to the United Kingdom and Germany. During her 34-year service she took part in many operations including Operation Desert Storm in 1990 as part of the Gulf War, to most recently, the Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 to 2005. She spent the past 16-years carrying out emergency sealifts.
Chris Green, the senior manager of the Brownsville site commented:
‘It is with great pride that we have been awarded this ship recycling contract. Extensive safety and environmental assessments are taking place on board to ensure that this ship recycling project is carried out to the highest standards’
The project, set for completion in early 2021, will see 98% of all materials removed being recycled.