Haunted Hampton Roads: James River ‘Ghost Fleet’

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 08:40:38-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The old, abandoned ships anchored off the coast of Newport News have been a site of mystery since 1919.

After World War I, the Navy and Merchant Marines had extra ships in the James River and had no place to put them.

Officially known as the James River Reserve Fleet, people sometimes refer to is as the 'Ghost Fleet' as the ships numbers continue to dwindle.

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Overseen by the U.S. Maritime Administration, the fleet had almost 800 ships at its peak in 1950.

Now, only nine remain after years and years of ships coming and going for various reasons.

Aerial view of the James River 'Ghost Fleet'

Some were sold to foreign governments, some were broken down and used for parts, a few were sunk off of the coast as an artificial reef.

The fleet is made up of decommissioned naval ships, obsolete commercial vessels, and some retention crafts maintained for potential logistic support.

Although people are curious about the potential hauntings and stories that may come with the 'Ghost Fleet' and the thousands of sailors who were once on board, there has been little progress trying to get any information or conduct any research.

Maybe that's why it's so mysterious?!

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