California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: November 16, 2011
For more information contact:
Media Contact: Mark Oldfield

CalRecycle and Contra Costa County Sheriff Recover Only U.S. Coast Guard Cutter to Host World War II Surrender: After decades in civilian use, vessel was abandoned in Delta

SACRAMENTO--Its place in history far greater than its final location would suggest, a decaying former U.S. Coast Guard cutter is being removed from Delta waters today. Scuttled and left to ruin by its civilian owner more than a decade ago, Cutter 83525 was the only Coast Guard vessel to host a Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. The surrender of the garrison on Aguijan Island near Saipan in the North Pacific took place aboard the 83525 on Sept. 4, 1945, two days after the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri.

As part of an ongoing effort to clear abandoned and potentially hazardous commercial vessels from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), along with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, today began removal of the 83525 from a slough near Fishermans Cut in Contra Costa County. Coast Guard representatives observed the initial stages of the work.

“Our disposal site cleanup program plays an important role in keeping California’s people and environment safe, but it is especially rewarding to also conduct a project of such historical significance,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to improve the Delta by recovering a ship with a proud past.”

"We’re glad to be able to witness a piece of Coast Guard history being salvaged today as part of a significant cleanup effort on the Delta,” said Lt. Cmdr. Blanca Rosas, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Assistant Chief of Response. “We find this discovery exciting and timely—occurring between two military holidays: Veteran’s Day and Pearl Harbor Day.”

CalRecycle and its contractor, Jerico, will attempt to salvage parts of the vessel with historical significance. Jerico has offered to restore at no cost the bow of the 83525, in hopes it can be used by the Coast Guard, perhaps as a monument at the local Coast Guard station in Rio Vista.

Abandoned vessels pose significant safety and environmental threats to waterways. Removal of the 83525 is part of a larger effort begun in Sacramento County to remove illegally dumped hazards, many of them near where Sacramento, Contra Costa, and Solano counties meet.

In addition to abandoned vessels of varying sizes and stages of decay, marine debris ranging from simple litter to potentially hazardous pollutants—including oil, gas and diesel fuel, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, batteries, and paint—is also being removed. CalRecycle hired private contractors to gather and separate waste materials using heavy equipment, marine salvage resources, commercial divers, and work crews. Once collected, trucks will haul materials to appropriate disposal or recycling facilities.

CalRecycle has committed $665,000 to the cleanup project through its Solid Waste Disposal Site Cleanup Program, and the State Water Resources Control Board has committed $100,000.

CalRecycle is responsible for investigation, cleanup, and enforcement of illegal solid waste disposal sites in California. The Solid Waste Disposal Site Cleanup Program supports CalRecycle’s mission to reduce the negative impacts of solid waste on public health and safety and helps local and regional entities reduce illegal dumping. The program is funded through tipping fees collected when non-hazardous waste is deposited in landfills, currently $1.40/ton. About $5 million is allocated annually for a variety of program activities to clean up or prevent illegal dumping throughout California and encourage environmental preservation.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

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