Where ships go to die
March 6, 2016 8:20 AM   Subscribe


 
Nice to finally see some leaked footage from Half-Life 3. Too bad it's only a rendering engine demo and not gameplay, but I'll take what I can get.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:45 AM on March 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Beautiful. The pilot picked the perfect day to shoot.
posted by OmieWise at 8:55 AM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


The background music isn't really sinister enough to match the total lack of any wildlife. The soup of toxins leaking out of those things has probably killed off everything for miles around.
posted by Lanark at 9:47 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


SS Meow Man
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:48 AM on March 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


KHAAAN: I also was thinking this looked like the area outside City 17.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:03 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


A couple years ago, I saw either images or pictures of this place, and set out to see it on my own. I took a road bike and went up and down the entire perimeter of Staten Island, with the objective to see this place. It was completely blocked off by fences and I made many queries and no, I couldn't get in.

So it is cool to finally see this - TBH, the detailed pictures and perspectives via a drone are 100X better that whatever I would seen on shore. I'm looking forward to whatever else drones can show us that are locked behind doors and/or inaccessible to the public for whatever reason.

Thank you so much for posting this.
posted by Wolfster at 10:21 AM on March 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


At once eerie and beautiful. I really enjoyed this.
posted by 4ster at 11:17 AM on March 6, 2016


Fascinating, and beautifully done. The last time I flew into Newark Airport, we flew over an expanse of sunken ships (I really don't know where we were geographically at that moment). I'd never seen so many hulls in the water like that before (what I saw were not above water vessels, though, just shapes and remnants of hulls). This intrigues me, and I hope to see more drone vids like this one.
posted by annieb at 11:49 AM on March 6, 2016


I found this interesting article in case anyone is looking for more details.
posted by annieb at 11:56 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was completely blocked off by fences and I made many queries and no, I couldn't get in.

Liability. That's a suuuuuuuper dangerous environment to be wandering around - rusty metal, sharp objects, confined spaces, no handrails, holes in the deck where you least expect it, ship stability not guaranteed, hopefully no hazmat but...

In other news, we're scoping out sites to recycle Enterprise, which is going to be an... extensive project. I guess if I have to do some substantial off-site corporate housing action, NY/NJ is one of the least unpleasant options I've heard so far.
posted by ctmf at 12:14 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've always been curious -- why isn't it cost effective to recycle the metals from these ships? It seems like it should be cheaper to take these things apart and melt them down than to mine enough iron ore to create enough pig iron to create an equivalent amount of virgin steel. But I know basically nothing of either the mining or recycling processes, so obviously I'm missing something.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:29 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's the site in Google Maps.
posted by gubo at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Taking a ship apart safely is a lot of work. Workers have to get paid. Safety regulations have to be followed, environmental regulations have to be followed, etc. Cutting the metal into chunks is only one part, you have to dispose of all the waste like insulation, wiring, anything not made of metal. All that stuff costs money (and resources, and ties up scarce facilities that could be making real money.)

As an example, we gave Forrestal to All Star Metals in Brownsville* a couple of years ago for a penny. I guess All-Star thought they got a good deal. The Navy also thinks we got a good deal by not having to do it ourselves.

Enterprise, being nuclear, will be even more of a PITA, documenting proof everything on it is not radioactive. Please don't make me do that in Brownsville.
posted by ctmf at 1:52 PM on March 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, the environmental regulations around taking a ship apart are actually harder than the environmental regulations for just letting it rot straight into the water? That doesn't surprise me, really, but it is quite depressing.

And, I mean, I realize workers have to be paid to take the ship apart, but workers have to be paid to pull iron ore out of the ground, too. It just surprises me that mining and smelting is ultimately less labour-intensive than just saying - 'hey look! giant sheets of steel!' and extracting those instead.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:22 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


You would think. All Star and Donjon keep doing it, so it must be profitable for someone who knows what they're doing and has the economy of scale. I don't know much about mining, but it seems like they wouldn't have the asbestos, mercury, PCB, and other hazardous waste disposal problems.

Oh, but you can't just sink them either without significant preparation. It cost the Navy over 20 million dollars to donate a ship as an artificial reef. It's cheapest to just float them indefinitely, kicking the can down the road.
posted by ctmf at 2:43 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ghost fleet previously
posted by ctmf at 2:47 PM on March 6, 2016


Insanely more complex than just about any other way to harvest metal. Accidentally crack open one old barrel of oil and you have a marine toxic waste site that can generate astronomical fines.

The surviving old boat yards/scrap yards run on an entirely different time scale than on land. The article from the Bowey blog notes there were 400 ships at one point, down to 100. A few years ago the price of scrap steel was way up due to the Chinese boom and a lot of boats got cut up. That has slowed recently.

The old boat guys that have a sliver of land that is grandfathered at locations unlikely to be super interesting to condo developers move theirs projects along at the pace like the tide over not years but decades. Then a boat that seems totally scrap may have a pump or other obscure part that is kept in reserve for another old boat guy a few states over.

If it's something you're really interested in wander in slowly with a case of beer and chat, over a few years they learn you're not an idjet on could have the run of the place. But yeah, not all that interesting. But don't bother asking if he needs help, any of those large barges or small ships are probably moved around by one or at most two old guys over a period of days or months using the power of the tides, current and wind. It's really interesting to watch a hundred foot boat moved exactly into position by one guy in a rattle trap looking skiff that yachties wouldn't dare step onto.
posted by sammyo at 2:52 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is it me or has the crow's nest at 5:10 literally been filled in with a...nest?

Insanely more complex than just about any other way to harvest metal. Accidentally crack open one old barrel of oil and you have a marine toxic waste site that can generate astronomical fines.

The workaround, sadly, is somewhere like Chittagong, Bangladesh.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:12 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, the environmental regulations around taking a ship apart are actually harder than the environmental regulations for just letting it rot straight into the water? That doesn't surprise me, really, but it is quite depressing.

I don't know anything about old ships (though I have seen a number of ship graveyards and wondered about the scrap value) but this is broadly true of a lot of things -- the cost of doing nothing is usually cheaper than the cost of compliance for doing something. This is why so many environmental projects are taken on by government agencies and non-profits, rather than land owners or private companies deciding to become compliant.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:34 PM on March 6, 2016


I was going to mention Chittagong too. The important lesson from Chittagong is that there can't be very much money in shipbreaking or else it would be done closer to major ports using industrialised processes. Instead, it's done on a giant tidal flat by terribly poor people with hand-held tools and no safety gear. So, even though you would think that it's free metal, the cost of recovering it must be very nearly as much as it's worth.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:08 PM on March 6, 2016


Bit of a tangent, but here's an interesting story about the Enterprise situation. Huntington Ingalls seems to think they can make money on it (or charge enough for the contract to make money), but ESCO Marine apparently isn't doing so hot with Saratoga. I imagine the Navy is going to want some confidence that the company is not going to go out of business with 8 of our reactor plants sitting in the yard.
posted by ctmf at 8:08 PM on March 6, 2016


Look at the second photo in ctmf's donate a ship as an artificial reef link. Oriskany is screaming in horror as she sinks. Crouton petters unite.

Question: Do the environmental regulations also apply if the Navy uses a decommissioned ship as a target ship?
posted by bryon at 10:16 PM on March 6, 2016


It was completely blocked off by fences and I made many queries and no, I couldn't get in.

Haha! Yes you can get in, it just takes some gutsy cutting through one guy's back yard, but after maybe 15m of trespass you are in there... It is really cool in real life, and even cooler from the drone's view so thanks.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:14 AM on March 7, 2016


Is it me or has the crow's nest at 5:10 literally been filled in with a...nest?

Yes, and most likely an Osprey nest.
posted by annieb at 10:21 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's my drone flyover of the ship graveyard at Mallows Bay Maryland. Ironically I stumbled onto this post while I was editing some newer footage from Mallows.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:51 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


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