Battleship's Repair Only A Temporary Fix

Repairs continue on the Battleship Texas, which has been leaking off and on for some time now. The problem has forced the 100-year-old vessel to be closed to the public indefinitely.

That's the sound of the generators that are powering the pumps being used to remove water from the Battleship Texas, located near the San Jacinto Monument along the Houston Ship Channel.

As booms keep any oil from leaving the immediate area, repair crews have so far plugged 19 holes from the starboard, or right side of the vessel. That's causing the ship to lean to the right.

"We only have one known active leak in the interior portion of the ship right now."

That's ship manager Andy Smith. The last remaining dreadnought that fought in World Wars 1 and 2, was closed indefinitely Monday, to let crews repair several holes allowing nearly 2,000 gallons of water per minute into the vessel.

"Our main area of focus is on the outer portion of the ship, they added torpedo blister tanks. So, they're not connected to the inner portion of the ship; they're just tanks that are on the outside that are normally empty. But during all of this activity with her taking on water, holes in the tanks have been pushed below the water line and now they've taking on water. So they're working on pumping out those tanks and patching them up to get that list off."

Several holes were found toward the back end of the ship that appeared to be the result of rivets popping out.  While these holes are smaller, they are in deeper water, which allows it to flow in faster.

"The port or left side of the ship is dry, but we're working on the right side, or starboard side right now, and it's full of water. So that's why we have that list, and why it went from a port to a starboard list. We dried out one half, took all the weight out of it, but now we got weight on the other side, and so we're kind of see-sawing back and forth. Hopefully , this is the last real see-sawing, and we get this and we're more or less straight."

Smith says the repairs being done are nothing more than band-aids being put on the aging museum. He says that highlights the need to begin a multi-million dollar plan to dry dock the vessel.

"We need a lot of money to repair, and then we need a lot of money to dry berth her."

PH: "How much money are we talking about?"

Smith: "All the way up to almost $50 million. So, say 2$5 to 50 million for a dry berth."

PH: "In the meantime, this is closed until when?"

Smith: "We are projecting out right now that we might be able to open her Saturday this weekend, but realistically, you can see out here that there's a lot of activity going on, and it really is to be determined."

To help fund the repair, go to dryberthtexas.com.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...