Crews find leak on Battleship Texas

June 12, 2012 4:46:51 PM PDT
The Battleship Texas is the only U.S. Navy vessel that survived two world wars. But now it is taking on water.

Park employees and volunteers are working around the clock to find the source of the leak. They want to make sure that they fix it and preserve the ship's rich history.

Tuesday was the first time Roy Schmidt stepped aboard the historic Battleship Texas. And he brought his son, Cort.

"I love history and he's six years old so he's able to appreciate the big guns," Schmidt said.

Those guns are just part of all there is to see on the floating landmark. But there is something below deck, which tourists can't see right now, that is threatening the ship's future.

"We've shut off the third deck and below because, as you can see, there are a lot of hoses and a lot of activity going on," said Battleship Texas manager Jason Smith said.

Those hoses are draining the water leaking into the ship's massive hull. Managers noticed it Saturday when the green algae was above the water line. It's since gotten worse and mixed with residual engine oil, which contractors are pumping into separate trucks.

"Once we have that oil cleaned and we have little to no fear of contaminating the channel, then we're going to pump all of that water out and see what there is to see -- look for a leak or leaks," Smith said.

For now, they're pumping out just enough to keep up with the water coming in, while keeping the upper decks open to tourists.

"This represents Iwo Jima, Okinawa, D-Day. This represents all those battles, all those men that served aboard," Smith said. "I want my grandkids to come see it and your grandkids to come see it."

And so they work around the clock to fix this latest challenge for a ship that's seen so much.

"We actually scrap a lot of these ships. We don't keep as many as maybe we should. So I think maintaining it for future generations so they know what grandeur that we have in our military," Schmidt said.

The managers at Battleship Texas think they'll have the oil pumped out by Wednesday so they can quickly drain the rest of that water and figure out where the leak or leaks are coming from.

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