The battleship USS Iowa, mothballed off the coast of California. Now LA and Long Beach are battling to be the city where it will be turned into a museum. photo by Scott Haeffner.[/caption]
Scott Haeffner is a daring man who could not resist exploring a forbidden part of the California coast. It’s the ghost ship junkyard, where for decades, the US has kept ships that are no longer in service, stretching back through four wars: WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.
The ships are strung together and await transport to faraway shipbreakers on the coast of India and Bangladesh. For how though, they sit, in Suisun Bay, 30 miles north of San Francisco. tethered together, 75 or so ships many rusting, and shedding toxic lead paint into the bay. Haeffner and an associate boarded the ships and spent weekends sleeping in the former captain’s cabins. The mildew was intense, it smelled of PCBs, and it was dangerous…and the 24 hour security was a constant threat.