Hull Repairs Bring Battleship Texas One Step Closer To Dry Berth

Nearly $20 million of repairs are soon to begin on the Battleship Texas. The repairs are necessary to keep the aging ship from caving in on itself.

Twenty-twelve was a rough year for the Battleship Texas, with the ship taking on thousands of gallons of water after it sprung several leaks.


Photos taken by Pat Hernandez, June 27, 2012

It took weeks to get the leaks fixed and repair the ship to the point where it could be reopened. Now the 100-year-old vessel is getting a major structural upgrade to its hull.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Infrastructure Deputy Director Scott Stover says the state will spend about $17.5 million to keep the ship's inner workings stable.

The money comes from general obligation bonds designated for the ship's maintenance.

"Most of the work that we'll be doing is to prepare it for structural repairs for eventual dry berth. We have a lot of real structural members holding up big parts of the ship, engines of the ship, that are deteriorated and if they fail the inside of the ship might collapse and fall through the bottom of the hull. So a lot of this work is preemptive."

Stover says the ship needs to be placed in dry berth for long-term preservation.

But that project is years and millions of dollars away.

"Our original estimate to do all of the work was about $50 million. Of course, with inflation and the more the ship sits in water the more deterioration there will be, so future funding amounts are really unpredictable at this point."

And there's no funding in the state budget for that effort. Instead, the Battleship Texas Foundation is trying to raise private funds to move the ship to land.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...