Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mare Island 'ship shop' may get nod

By Jessica A. York / Times-Herald
Posted: 05/19/2010 01:02:35 AM PDT

A state bay oversight commission will weigh in Thursday on a proposed ship dismantling, repair and maintenance operation at two dormant Mare Island dry docks.

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission staff members are recommending the application's approval, which could lead to the local dismantling of federal "mothballed" reserve ships in Suisun Bay.

"What this project would do is enable the Mothball Fleet ... to be cleaned up faster, with jobs in Vallejo. Now that's pretty damn neat," said BCDC Executive Director Will Travis of the project's "big picture."

"So that's why we're recommending it be approved, ... in addition to believing that it's complying with state laws and regulations."

With the agency's nod, applicant Allied Recycling Defense, doing business as California Dry Dock Solutions, can move forward in acquiring a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The permit would be to dredge 10 years' worth of silt in front of the dry dock doors in the Mare Island Strait, according to BCDC staffers.

The company has proposed to begin site work by early August and end dredging by October. Startup costs are estimated at $1.2 million.

The project, several years in the making, received Vallejo Planning Commission approval in November. In the future, property owner Lennar Mare Island will need to work out a lease with the company, contingent on a steady venture funding source.

Lennar Mare Island spokesman Jason Keadjian said

Thursday's hearing is a big step for the project.

"This is another significant step which is necessary in order to allow for ADR or California Dry Dock Solutions to bid on the ship dismantling work from MARAD (U.S. Maritime Administration)," Keadjian said.

Project plans for the site include construction of a 120-space parking lot, demolition of four buildings and installation of a public overlook area between Nimitz and Waterfront avenues. It also includes plans to win federal contracts to dismantle ships from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, docked off Benicia's coast.

To reduce impacts on several state- and federally listed endangered fish species, the company would be required to remove a fish migration barrier and restore a Chinook salmon spawning stream bed. Also, the company would acquire, improve and permanently preserve about five acres of fish habitat, according to a BCDC staff report.

For more information on Allied Recycling Defense, visit or call (707) 769-7824.

Contact staff writer Jessica A. York at (707) 553-6834 or