Petition for Action Regarding USS Kawishiwi AO-146
The undersigned former crew members of USS Kawishiwi AO-146, and their shipmates from the other surviving Neosho Class Fast Fleet Oilers, respectfully request that you please take steps to expedite action on the request by California Ships To Reefs, Inc. (CSTR), a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation regarding your inquiry as to the availability and suitability of our former ship, and, by extension, her sister ships USS Hassayampa AO-145 and USS Ponchatoula AO-148. The crew members of all three of these ships have voted to support the efforts of CSTR to have our ships serve again, as living monuments to their, and our, service to our country, as environmental benefits to the ocean, and as economic benefits, through fishing and diving tourism, for California. A letter was sent to you in November, 2010 asking that the necessary inquiry be sent to the United Sates Maritime Administration (MARAD) as to the availability and suitability of USS Kawishiwi as primary candidate, and USS Hassayampa and USS Ponchatoula as alternates, for reefing in California waters. The only information which CSTR, the requesting organization, has been able to glean from you up to this point is that you and MARAD are “conferring”. While we realize there are many issues to be discussed, four months would seem to be sufficient time for conferring about, and to receive an answer to, the question of suitability and availability of USS Kawishiwi. This is the necessary first step to actually requesting that CSTR be allowed aboard Kawishiwi to inspect her and determine what work will need to be done toward cleaning her and preparing her to serve again. Only after this has been done and a cost estimate prepared, would CSTR be in a position to ask that the State, on behalf of CSTR, make an application for her.