Vintage Battleship Close To Sinking

USS TEXAS in 2006 Photo in public domain

The 1914-built battleship TEXAS, a veteran of both World Wars, has been moored at the San Jacinto Battleground, Texas since 1948. Her hull was last repaired in the late 1980s and has since become dangerously weakened from years of exposure to the brackish water of the Houston Ship Channel. A piece of rag and a backup pump are keeping the storied battleship from sinking at its moorings, according to state park officials.

According to park manager Andy Smith, a park employee noticed that the ship appeared to be sitting a bit lower in the water than normal. When he returned to work the next morning, the ship was noticeably lower. In fact, the USS TEXAS had sunk some two to three feet overnight.
When park staff checked below decks, they discovered a previously unknown leak on the starboard side of the ship, near the waterline in the vicinity of frame 80. Water also was found building up in the aft steering compartment.

A pump in that compartment had burned out, causing the vessel to take on more water than normal. That, in turn, pulled a seam separation below the water line, in effect causing another leak. The broken pump was replaced with a backup, and other pumps were employed. Some 105,000 gallons of water had to be extracted from the ship, which rose to its normal level. As a temporary fix, a cloth rag was stuffed in the starboard leak, which is now above the waterline.

“Currently, a rag and pumps are keeping her afloat,” said Justin Rhodes, regional director of the area that includes the San Jacinto site. “The sooner we get her out of the water, the better.”

Plans are in progress to dry-berth the ship. The Texas Park and Wildlife Department recently selected an engineering firm to design the dry berth and is currently negotiating design fees. After that, the team will develop a project plan and construction schedule. Current plans are to complete the dry-berth by 2014, the centennial of the ship’s commissioning.


Add a Comment