MARAD OFFERS REEFING ASSISTANCE TO COASTAL STATES
The U.S. Maritime Administration has developed a program to provide financial help to states interested in using obsolete ships for artificial reefs.
MarAd is the federal government’s disposal agent for ships of 1,500 gross tons or more, and has more than 100 ships awaiting disposal.
For years, however, states that use ships for reef building have had to absorb the entire cost. Preparing a ship for artificial reefing costs between $500,000 to $1 million, and higher in some cases. During the past five years, MarAd has transferred only one ship to a state.
In the fiscal year 2003 budget, Congress appropriated $31 million for MarAd’s ship disposal, some of which can now be used for reefing.
MarAd has also created a task force with the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service and Navy to develop “best practices” for cleaning vessels for reefing. In addition, the task force will develop an efficient application process for the states.