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Tin Can Sailors

HNSA News
  News from the
   Historic Naval Ships Association

(Last updated 01/02/14)

27 Dec 13 Johnson takes helm at Wisconsin Maritime Museum
26 Dec 13 Plugging the leaks to make HMS Caroline shipshape
  Laffey Gun Mount Exhibit Now Open
12 Dec 13 Peoria officials research bid for World War II warship that's moored in Indiana
07 Dec 13 Arkansas maritime museum could be home to to ships from start, end of WWII
07 Dec 13 USS Slater given preservation award
06 Dec 13 Historic FDNY Fire Boat May Be Evicted From Suffolk County Dock
04 Dec 13 WWII-Era Japanese Submarine Found in Hawaii
28 Nov 13

If SS United States fails to get job, it may be sunk

26 Nov 13 'Ghost Fleet' losing another ship today
21 Nov 13 City's downtown development board backs bringing USS Adams to Jacksonville as a floating museum
15 Nov 13 Why did a Virginia museum open a new exhibit in its restrooms?
14 Nov 13 Navy ship museum in Downtown cruises to victory in JBJ poll
    Nov 13 MS Edinburgh ‘could bring in thousands more’
5 Nov 13 Coast Guard Works Hard to Preserve History
5 Oct 13 Problem with wharf closes USS Salem in Quincy until spring
Oct 29 Storis Supporters See Ray of Hope in Saving Cutter
Sept 12 Vallejo: Old sailors work to prepare unique World War II ship for Fleet Week
Sept 09 Group trying to bring retired aircraft carrier to R.I. as a museum
Aug 13 USS Cassin Young (DD-793) returns from drydock
24 Aug 13 ‘Tin Can Sailors’ keep things shipshape on the USS The Sullivans
July 13 Storis Museum’s dream in peril
25 July 13 North Korea to put US spy ship captured in 1968 on display
09 May 13 Bid to Turn Fire Department Ship Into a Museum Founders
09 May 13 The First World War's last surviving battleship is on course to be transformed into a floating museum after provisionally securing a 12 million lottery funding boost.
09 July 13 New York City Appoints Employees to Serve as Seaport Trustees
07 July 13 Port Burwell officially opens HMCS Ojibwa as naval museum
06 July 13 Two states eager to be new home for the historic USS Olympia
05 July 13 Chicago's Field Museum reorganizes amid money woes
03 July 13 Battleship New Jersey to receive $1.4 million in state funding
25 June 13 Reason for the re-dedication of Memorial Stadium at Indiana
25 June 13 Seaport Museum Set Adrift by the Museum of the City of New York
20 June 13 Civilian furloughs to close Nautilus, submarine museum on Mondays
18 June 13 Navy Shipyard Puget Sound Seeks Volunteer Workers
17 June 13 Former Coast Guard cutter Storis up for auction after Juneau museum efforts fail
01 May 13 USS Constellation to get new $4.2M visitors center
       Apr 13 Mount Pleasant
26 Apr 13 CG Cutter Services Seasonal Aids to Navigation
24 Apr 13 Quebec museum saves Cold-War submarine from the scrap heap
23 Apr 13 Study boosts Kitty Hawk
11 Apr 13 State gets ‘retired’ Navy submarine
11 Apr 13 Mare Island group teams up with competitor to save USS Olympia warship
09 Apr 13 Would you pay $500 to fire these guns?
08 Apr 13 Efforts to bring ship to Green Bay as floating museum in the works
05 Apr 13 Battleship New Jersey visitors offered new interactive experience
05 Apr 13 USS Edson group targets mid-April to move destroyer to permanent Saginaw River dock site
Dec 11 Documentary on USS Cassin Young
Produced by Pin-yu (Alice) Chen

USS Lexington No Longer in Debt to City
Posted: Feb 14, 2012 7:11 PM
KRIS Corpus Christi News

CORPUS CHRISTI - It was a big day for the U.S.S. Lexington as caretakers of the aircraft carrier delivered the final bond payment for the Grey Ghost.'

Members of the Landing Force 16 Task Force, which originally petitioned the Navy to bring the ship to town more than 20 years ago, were pleased to deliver the balance of the $3 million bond payment.

Since 1992, seven million people have visited the bayside museum.

 

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Johnson takes helm at Wisconsin Maritime Museum
December 27, 2013
Suzanne Weiss, Herald Times Reporter

MANITOWOC — Friends and colleagues call him “Wisconsin Johnson.” A play on “Indiana Jones,” the nickname dates back to Rolf Johnson’s dinosaur-digging days, evidence of which can be seen in his corner office at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

These days, Johnson, 57, has his eyes on what’s beneath the surface of the water rather than under the earth. Bringing with him more than two decades of working on Great Lakes-related issues, Johnson became CEO of the museum in early November.

He replaces Norma Bishop, who retired in October from the executive director position she held for eight years.

Ties to Manitowoc County

“For over 20 years, I’ve had my eye on running this museum in part because of my passion for the Great Lakes and also the community,” Johnson said.

Although he grew up on Milwaukee’s east side and now lives in Green Bay, he’s no stranger to Manitowoc County. His family owns a wildlife sanctuary north of Cleveland overlooking Lake Michigan, where he has a cabin and plans to move soon with his wife, Elda Brizuela.

Miniature dinosaur skeletons join nautical artifacts displayed in his office, which affords a view of the Manitowoc River. His “prized possession” is a framed American flag that once flew on the Battleship Wisconsin at Nauticus, a maritime-themed science center and museum in Norfolk, Va. As the museum’s deputy director and chief operating officer from 2007-11, Johnson was responsible for opening the battleship for public exhibits, interpretive programming, events and below-deck tours.

When he speaks, his enthusiasm for the Wisconsin Maritime Museum — and its fully restored World War II submarine, the USS Cobia — is evident, as is his experience in the media. Johnson, an Emmy award-winning producer and former host of a Milwaukee public radio talk show, is already channeling these talents into his new job as he makes media appearances and meets local officials.

'Sponge mode'

Sitting behind his new desk, Johnson said he’s now in “sponge mode.” He is soaking up the museum’s operations and initiatives and taking an objective look at the museum as a whole before he makes recommendation and begins “shaping the next chapter of this museum’s history,” he said. “It’s a big ship with a small rudder. If you decide to turn a museum, it takes time.”

The entire museum industry is undergoing change, Johnson said.

“I’m looking through the lens of the museum writ large and looking at the challenges that all museums are facing and this museum is facing,” he said.

Among the challenges are changing audience expectations, remaining relevant to the community, operating the museum like a business, incorporating the latest technology into exhibits and programming and retaining good museum governance, he said.

“I have to look at all of that, from the day-to-day operations to sustainability to how we reflect the needs and interests of our audiences,” Johnson said, calling the museum an “economic engine for community growth.”

Museum-goers were once primarily “aficionados of maritime history,” but now include teachers, students and tourists, he said. Among his missions is to reintroduce the museum to the community. That being said, the museum also must “play on a national stage,” Johnson said. Sure to draw attention from near and far is the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2019, he said.

Another significant endeavor he looks forward to is gathering support for the creation of a National Maritime Sanctuary, a region that would encompass area underwater archeological sites and area port cities and institutions, including the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

Wearing more than one hat

While 35 years ago, museum heads were primarily scholars and everything else “took care of itself,” today’s museum leaders need to concern themselves with more than the exhibits, collections, educational activities and programming, he said. They must seek mission support, which includes overseeing membership solicitations, grant writing, gate receipts and in, his case, revenue from submarine overnights and the museum gift shop.

A museum CEO must be a “marketer, fundraiser, cheerleader, coach and mentor to staff and still have some academic chops, some scholarly cred,” he said. “I love that challenge. I did not come here to maintain the status quo. I honor and respect the work of the former directors, but I have to now build on those accomplishments. At the same time, I bring my skill sets and insight to bear to put my own mark on the museum. It’s so exciting. It’s an incredible time to be in the museum industry.”

Prior to joining the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Johnson was executive director for the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay.

Johnson began his professional career in 1978 as a vertebrate paleontologist at the Milwaukee Public Museum. He has since worked as a curator, media producer, environmental educator, exhibit designer and, since 1992, in museum administration.

As deputy director of Milwaukee’s Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, home of the schooner Denis Sullivan, he was responsible for design and development of exhibits and programming and for raising more than $1 million for schooner programs.

He also was director of development for the Glacial Lakes Conservancy, a Lake Michigan-based land stewardship program involving Manitowoc and surrounding counties.

“I want this to be my swan song,” Johnson said of his new position. “I want this to be my last gig. I have a good 10 years in me. If I can guide the institution through its 50th birthday and beyond, I’ll be content.”
 

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Plugging the leaks to make HMS Caroline shipshape
BY DERIC HENDERSON – 26 December 2013
Belfast Telegraph

VITAL weatherproofing repairs have started to secure HMS Caroline in advance of major restorative work to turn the famous First World War fighting ship into a floating museum in Belfast.

The Belfast Telegraph has led the campaign to have the only survivor of the historic Battle of Jutland preserved.

It came dangerously close to sinking during the big freeze of 2010 when pipes and radiators burst, but work is now under way to protect it from the ravages of another potential harsh winter.

Deck timbers are being replaced to prevent the risk of more flooding and a major internal inspection of space below the water line is being carried out. Electrician Billy Hughes (53) is satisfied everything possible is being done to halt further deterioration before the main multi-million pound restorative project is launched to get the ship ready for the 2016 centenary of the Battle of Jutland, in which it was centrally involved.

"There has been some leakage, but we're doing everything we can to get it wrapped up before the weather gets really cold and miserable," said Billy.

Some 165,000 visitors a year are forecast when the light cruiser, launched and commissioned in 1914 and currently at Alexandra Dock, opens as a museum.

Captain John Rees, chief of staff at the Portsmouth-based National Museum of the Royal Navy and project director, said the damage of three years ago threatened to sink the ship which was owned at the time by the MoD.

Caroline was the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, the First World War's longest sea battle.

When the war ended she became a static training ship based in Belfast, but was back in action in the Second World War. She later returned to Belfast to resume a static role until being decommissioned in 2011, making her the longest ship in commission in the Navy after HMS Victory.
 

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Laffey Gun Mount Exhibit Now Open
Posted by Holly Jackson on October 22, 2013 – 2:48 pm

Patriots Point visitors can now virtually travel decades back in time and get a greater understanding of what it was like to be inside the aft 5” 38 caliber gun mount of the destroyer USS LAFFEY.  Through an interactive exhibit that opened Monday, October 21st, the experience comes to life, teaching visitors about the gun mount which was destroyed by a kamikaze attack on April 16, 1945, killing six crew members.

“This is the best way to bring the experience of working that gun during an air attack to life,” Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette said.  “Our visitors can look at static displays all day and try to imagine the fear and adrenaline rush these young men must have felt; but closing the door, cranking the sound on a video of that time and bringing in the vibrations that came with the an attack where 20 or more 55lb rounds were fired per minute – the scene is practically alive again 68 years later,” he said.

The exhibit is funded by the Tin Can Sailors, a national association of destroyer veterans.  Their contribution of $10,000 will provide a new-age education and entertainment level to Patriots Point visitors who can better appreciate what is considered to be one of the best naval guns of WWII.  The exhibit is a start to toward the museum master plan and paves the way for where the museum is headed over the next three years.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/patriotspoint.org for photos from the launch of the exhibit.

 

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Peoria officials research bid for World War II warship that's moored in Indiana
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 12, 2013 - 9:52 am EST

PEORIA, IllinoisPeoria officials say they want a World War II warship moored in Indiana to relocate to central Illinois.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/18WApQw ) community leaders are examining how to get the decommissioned LST 325 tank landing ship to relocate once its 10-year contract with Evansville, Indiana expires.

The ship is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and was used in the Normandy landings at Omaha Beach. The ship doubles as a museum and is among the last of its kind to remain seaworthy.

Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says the community is researching how much it would cost to build a permanent dock for the boat, which attracts as many as 10,000 visitors a year. This fall, it hit waterways to visit Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.

 

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Arkansas maritime museum could be home to to ships from start, end of WWII
Posted: December 7, 2013
By Rob Moritz
ARKANSAS NEWS BUREAU

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — A small maritime museum on the banks of the Arkansas River, which has been visited by more than 200,000 people since it opened nine years ago, will be expanding soon in several directions.

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, home to the USS Razorback, a submarine that was in Tokyo Bay in September 1945 when the Japanese surrendered, and a collection of Naval and other military memorabilia, is being refurbished to house items from the recently closed Arkansas River Historical Society Museum at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa in Catoosa, Okla.

Museum officials also are hoping that the facility will soon be home to the USS Hoga, a harbor tugboat which was at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and helped move several battleships out of harm’s way from Japanese fighters.

With the addition of the Hoga, the North Little Rock museum would be one of only two museums to have World War II-era ships that saw action at the beginning of the war and at the end. The other is in Honolulu.

The city of North Little Rock acquired the USS Razorback in 2004 and it, along with the maritime museum, opened to the public in 2005.

“This will be the only place in the continental United States that will have ships that bookend World II,” said Michael Hopper, curator of the museum.

About 200,000 people have visited the museum, said Steve Owen, a member of the Save the Hoga Committee. “We’ve had people from 77 different countries come and visit the maritime museum,” he said.

In the past three years, more than 300 different school groups also have toured the museum and submarine, Owen said, adding that both are important to the city and state.

“It’s of historical significance for two reasons, remembering those who fought to keep our country free, but also from an educational standpoint,” said Owen. “A lot of times when you’re teaching kids about history, it’s one thing to teach in a classroom, but when they can actually get out and touch, see and feel history it brings it to life.”

A fundraiser to help cover the $195,000 cost of having the Hoga transported from northern California was to be held last Saturday, weather permitting. Saturday was also the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

North Little Rock Chamber Executive Director Terry Hartwick said last week the fundraiser would be held on the same days as a scheduled Jimmy Buffett concert at the Verizon Arena, just a few blocks away.

Owen said the nonprofit group that operates the museum is about $50,000 short of covering the cost of getting the Hoga moved by ship. The outside of the tug was recently refurbished at Mare Island Shipyard in Vallejo, just north of San Francisco.

“The entire bottom was redone, and from the water line up to the mast,” Owen said. “It looks close to the way it looked in 1941 during the attack (on Pearl Harbor) as you can get.”

The refurbishing of the tug cost about $250,000, about $150,000 of which was in-kind work done by U.S. Navy veterans who volunteered to help restore the vessel, Owen said. The rest was paid for with donations.

If all goes well, the Hoga will be loaded onto an ocean-going transportation barge sometime in January and arrive in New Orleans in February, Owen said.

“It will probably stay in New Orleans for a couple of weeks for a little more work, then we’ll have to just wait for the right barge company to bring it up the Mississippi,” he said.

He said tug could arrive at the North Little Rock museum in March or April.

Owen said the Hoga still has a 9-foot-long dent on the starboard bow which occurred when it was pushing the USS Nevada out to sea during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

After WW II, the Hoga spent 40 years as an Oakland, Calif., fire boat before it was mothballed by the U.S. Navy, Owen said, adding that the tugboat has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Hopper said the Hoga was the original World War II vessel that former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays tried to bring to Arkansas.The Navy awarded ownership of the Hoga to the city in 2005, about three years after Hays began trying to acquire it. Because of the Hoga’s frail condition, however, the cost of getting the boat transported has been an obstacle.

Hopper said Wednesday the items from Arkansas River Historical Society Museum are mainly papers and other documents collected by people who were involved in the initial planning and construction of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which stretches from northeastern Oklahoma through Arkansas to the Mississippi River.

“We have 255 document boxes … that are full of documents,” he said. “Right now we’re going through all those documents trying to get a handle on what we have.”

Some of the artifacts include some of the shovels that used in groundbreaking ceremonies at some of the lock and dam sites, as well as samples of commodities that are shipped up and down the Arkansas River.

Hopper said the museum is now closed and will reopen March 1. The U.S.S. Razorback, however, is still open for tours.
 

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USS Slater given preservation award
The USS Slater, a World War II destroyer escort, is on display in Albany harbor.
It is the only World War II-era destroyer escort still afloat.
Posted: 12/07/13, 12:21 PM EST |

ALBANY >> The USS Slater and the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum have been recognized with a New York State Historic Preservation Award. The award was announced Dec. 5 by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Established in 1980, the State Historic Preservation Awards are given each year to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources.

“The historic preservation awards recognize the efforts and achievements of individuals, organizations, and municipalities that make significant contributions to historic preservation efforts across the state,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “This year’s awards demonstrate the outstanding commitments, hard work, and strong partnerships that have made preservation an important tool for community renewal, economic development, and job growth in New York state.”

The USS Slater’s citation reads, in part, “The USS Slater is the only World War II era destroyer escort still afloat and has become one of the finest naval ship exhibits in the country, drawing thousands of visitors to Albany’s riverfront. The project’s great success is a testament to the effectiveness of the museum as well as the commitment of its volunteers. In addition to being an educational asset, the Slater has become an important patriotic symbol, honoring all those who serve the country in the military, especially the United States Navy.”

The ship has been painstakingly restored to her 1945 configuration. Visitors feel as though the crew are simply on “shore leave” and may return at any time. The ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, a private, non-profit organization, owns, maintains, and operates USS SLATER. The Museum receives no regular government financial support, but relies on the generosity and patriotism of individuals, foundations, and corporations.
 

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Historic FDNY Fire Boat May Be Evicted From Suffolk County Dock
600-Ton Ship Could Be Scrapyard Bound

December 6, 2013

GREENPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A very large piece of New York City firefighter history may soon be forced to take its final voyage to the scrapyard.

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, Suffolk County officials threatened to evict an historic fire boat docked in Greenport.

While the search continues for a new home for the historic boat, many hold out hope the 600-ton ship will be able to stay.

“We put a lot of work into it already and we hate to see it just go,” ship volunteer Rich Delani told Xirinachs. “It would be a shame, like any historical building or monument or whatever to see it just go away and be destroyed.”

The county has ordered the boat out of a dock it controls and subleases to Greenport. The village board is scheduled to act on what to do next.

Some say the rusted tourist attraction is an eyesore, but others disagree.

“I think the boat’s good for Greenport, it should stay,” said a local barber. “Because Greenport’s old and rusted and it’s not polluting nothing. Fix Greenport up too, along with the boat.”

The boat’s been docked in Greenport since July.
 

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WWII-Era Japanese Submarine Found in Hawaii
Dec 04, 2013

 A team of researchers discovered a World War II-era Japanese submarine the length of a football field in August off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, officials said.

Terry Kerby, of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, the organization that found the submarine, said they had to wait to unveil their discovery to the public until they had complete confirmation of the submarine's identity.

After a back-and-forth between the U.S. State Department and the Japanese government, it was determined the submarine was the I-400, KITV-TV, Honolulu, Hawaii, reported Monday.

"We couldn't really see the tell-tale sign number I-400 painted on the side like we saw with the other subs, but we saw features of it that match it up with the I-400," Kerby said.

Kerby said the team found the submarine by following a cable they found about three miles from Barbers Point in 2,300 feet of water.

"There was a communications cable and it was coming out of the bottom into space and so we knew it was pretty big and so we followed this cable and out of this darkness came this massive bow, and it was a thrill," he said. The submarine was one of five Japanese submarines docked at one time in Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy sank the vessel, which was big enough to hold three airplanes with foldable wings nose-to-tail, the newspaper said.

 

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If SS United States fails to get job, it may be sunk
By Geoff Mulvihill
The Associated Press
November 28, 2013         
PHILADELPHIA 

Its future is still uncertain, but the SS United States is getting a below-the-deck makeover to make it more appealing for developers interested in turning what was once the world's fastest ocean liner into a massive dockside attraction.

Workers began a project in October to remove tanks and other materials from the belly of the ship to make way for modern utilities systems that would need to go in to transform it. There's a second objective to the project, which is expected to last well into 2014: selling the materials to raise the $50,000 to $60,000 it takes each month to maintain and insure the vessel.

The SS United States Conservancy, the nonprofit group that owns the ship, warns that if its grand plans do not come together quickly, there might be no choice but to sell the historic liner as scrap.

"It's a great fixer-upper," said Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy and the granddaughter of William Francis Gibbs, the ship's Philadelphia-born designer, on a tour of the ship.

The ship was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and launched in 1952 as the world's fastest ocean liner. After it went out of service, it was docked for many years in Norfolk.

How to use the ship - as long as three football fields and a monument to shimmery aluminum and the sleek lines of mid-20th-century Modernism – has been a conundrum for more than 40 years.

The SS United States still holds the record for speediest trans-Atlantic voyage. The ship was partially funded by the Navy with the idea that it could be converted one day into an extremely efficient troop transporter.

But it was never called into service by the government. And by 1969, after carrying four presidents, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor and a million other people across the Atlantic, it was retired from its regular duties.

The hulking ship has been berthed on the Delaware River in Philadelphia since 1996, its once-bold red, white and blue paint faded and its iron oxidizing in a pier across the street from a shopping center.

Over the years, plans to make the SS United States into a cruise ship have failed, partly because it was designed for speed, not slow-moving recreation, and is narrower than modern cruise ships.

The conservancy used a $5.8 million gift from a Philadelphia philanthropist in 2010 to buy the ship. The group's vision is different from others that came before. It wants to turn it into a multi-use attraction, perhaps with restaurants, a hotel and banquet facilities, along with a maritime-historymuseum.

Some retired naval ships - including the New Jersey in nearby Camden and the Intrepid in New York - have been turned into museums. But the high overhead costs of keeping a boat afloat, even if it's stationary, can bring financial difficulties. Despite fundraising efforts, the ship's owners would have a difficult time paying basic bills without selling some scrap.

There is at least one model for the sort of development the SS United States owners have in mind. The SS Rotterdam opened three years ago with a hotel, museum and school in its namesake city in the Netherlands.

Thomas Basile, a consultant with the conservancy, believes it would be feasible in New York City or Philadelphia.

Aboard the ship, Basile said, it's in better shape than it appears, and a level in the navigation bridge shows that it's not hewing either way. "It's benefited from being over-engineered," he said.
 

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'Ghost Fleet' losing another ship today
By Jessica A. York/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted:   11/26/2013 01:01:19 AM PST

A crop of ships once standing ready for a call to action in times of national emergency is dwindling to a mere shadow of itself.

This morning, the USS Willamette will be towed from Suisun Bay's National Defense Reserve "Mothball" Fleet, leaving only 11 obsolete vessels in its wake.

The 32-year-old former U.S. Navy replenishment oiler will be taken to San Francisco for hull cleaning, then on to Brownsville, Texas for dismantling by All Star Metals, LLC, who paid $1.5 million for the vessel.

The relic ships' removal from Suisun Bay's fleet, one of three across the country run by the U.S. Maritime Administration, came as a result of a lawsuit settlement between the federal government and several environmental watchdog agencies in 2010.

The ship removal process is about two years ahead of the settlement's schedule, aided by the metal recycling market's turnaround in recent years. In most of the removal contracts, the government is compensated by ship scrappers for the vessels, instead of vice versa, as in the earlier years. The fleet has been pared down from 57 obsolete vessels in October 2009, with a deadline of full removal by Sept. 30, 2017.

The dwindling ship supply also comes at a time of sea-shift for Mare Island, which until recently housed a maritime company using two of the U.S. Navy's former giant dry docks for ship repair, recycling and contained hull cleaning. That company, going by several names since its 2011 arrival -- most recently Mare Island Shipyard LLC -- ended its lease with developer Lennar Mare Island last month.

Replacing the company as of Nov. 1 is East Coast shipyard-owned Mare Island Dry Dock LLC.

Several of Mare Island Shipyard's former employees have found new jobs with the new company, workers have told this newspaper. It remains unclear whether Mare Island Dry Dock might consider competing with BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair to scrape sloughing toxic paint chips and local marine growth from the obsolete vessels before they are towed to Texas for scrapping. In an interview in August, Mare Island Dry Dock vice president Steven Park said the company, aiming to employ as many as 100 in its first year, will focus first on ship repair work.
 

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City's downtown development board backs bringing USS Adams to Jacksonville as a floating museum
Posted: November 21, 2013 - 7:48pm
By David Bauerlein, The Florida Times Union

Outside the Adams Class Museum in downtown Jacksonville, a painting stands on an easel depicting what the Northbank riverfront would look like with the USS Charles F. Adams docked as a year-round floating attraction.

“Coming soon to Jax,” says a sign attached to the painting.

This week, the city’s Downtown Investment Authority signed off on the concept, joining the City Council and Mayor Alvin Brown in backing the years-long drive to bring the USS Adams to Jacksonville.

The authority’s board unanimously approved a resolution that highlighted how the ship could attract people to downtown and highlight Jacksonville as a Navy town.

The city isn’t committing any financial support for the venture, which is being spearheaded by the nonprofit Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association.

“They’re the ones who have to do the capital campaign,” authority CEO Aundra Wallace said at the authority’s Wednesday board meeting.

But getting the city’s buy-in on the concept will make it easier for the group to achieve its $3.4 million fundraising goal, said Dan Bean, president of the nonprofit group.

He said “financial stability is the last hurdle,” and the city’s support will help people “realize the ship is going to come.” He said the Navy has already agreed to donate the USS Adams, which is moored in Philadelphia, once the group shows it has the financial ability to undertake the project.

The push to bring the retired USS Adams to Jacksonville dates back to 2008 and originally envisioned a site on the Southbank near the Acosta Bridge. But that would have required building a pier at a cost of about $6 million.

The latest concept would dock the ship on the Northbank at The Shipyards, which is a stretch of riverfront between the downtown core and Metropolitan Park. The city took ownership of The Shipyards after a planned condominium tower development fell through during the real estate bust.

The USS Adams would go alongside an existing pier, located across Bay Street from the Maxwell House coffee plant.

Bean said Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a model of how using ships as waterfront attractions can blend with redevelopment.

“They built their downtown around the ships,” he said.

He said the warship museum could attract about 150,000 visits a year. Admission would cost $10. Bean said the ship also could be used by youth groups such as Boy Scouts who currently leave the state to make overnight stays on retired Navy ships in Charleston, S.C., and Mobile, Ala.

The goal is to have the ship in Jacksonville and open for tours by the end of 2014.

 

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Why did a Virginia museum open a new exhibit in its restrooms?
By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger, LA Times
November 15, 2013, 8:15 a.m.

The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va., opened a new exhibit this month in an unusual place: inside its eight restrooms.

"A Head of Its Time" explores the history of toilets on ships.

According to the museum, the idea for the exhibition started about eight years ago and began as a joke. But museum collections and programs chief Anna Holloway submitted a proposal that began: "There is a certain experience that cuts across time, space, age and ethnicity, though not necessarily across genders."

Still, how to tell the story of going at sea? The museum decided to take a light approach and contacted Norfolk, Va., newspaper cartoonist Walt Taylor to provide cartoon-like panels on the got-to-go theme. The exhibit space is restroom walls, urinals and the doors of toilet stalls.

Panels teach visitors the meaning of the word "the head," as ship toilets are called, and what sailors used instead of toilet paper back in the day.

So what's the lesson here?

"I think we can all agree that the need for a toilet is a universal experience," Holloway said in a statement. "This is just our way of coaxing people into exposing themselves to maritime history -- and hope they have fun and learn something while doing it."

 

 

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Navy ship museum in Downtown cruises to victory in JBJ poll
Michael Clinton, Digital Producer- Jacksonville Business Journal
Nov 14, 2013, 11:31am EST

The results are in and an overwhelming amount of Jacksonville Business
Journal readers want a naval ship museum in Downtown Jacksonville.

Earlier this month, the Downtown Investment Authority held a public
forum to gather resident input for its community redevelopment plan, a
legally required framework for revitalization.

We thought, what better a way to get reader input than by launching a
poll. We asked: Which suggested project should the city put its energy
behind first to revitalize Downtown?

A total of 644 votes were cast, with more than 50 percent supporting
bringing the USS Charles F. Adams to Downtown as a naval history museum.
The proposal was also mentioned several times during the forums.

Here’s a breakdown of the results:

A Ferris wheel — 1 percent
An aquarium — 13 percent
A convention center — 12 percent
A naval ship museum — 62 percent
A casino — 7 percent

Other — 5 percent

 

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HMS Edinburgh ‘could bring in thousands more’
by IAN SWANSON, Edinburgh News

THOUSANDS more visitors could be drawn to Edinburgh’s waterfront if HMS Edinburgh joined the Royal Yacht Britannia as an attraction in Leith, a tourism expert said today.

Professor Joe Goldblatt, of Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University, said there was strong potential for the retired Type 42 Destroyer to pull in new tourists if it were to find its last berthing place in the Capital.

A week ago the Evening News revealed the Ministry of Defence had performed a U-turn and was willing to have direct talks with the city council about a non-competitive sale of the warship. It had previously insisted it would be put up for auction.

Following the change of heart, Britannia chief executive Bob Downie suggested the ship could be secured for as little as 200,000 and said the Britannia management would be interested in running it alongside the Royal Yacht.

Professor Goldblatt said in the United States ships were huge visitor attractions. In San Diego, former aircraft carrier the USS Midway attracts almost a million visitors a year.

Professor Goldblatt said US museum ships were typically used not only as tourist attractions but also hired out for special events – including fund-raising events by companies, associations and charities.

But he warned the crucial factor was how the ship was managed and promoted.

He said: “It’s the management of these attractions which is critical. The Royal Yacht Britannia has been successful because of the exemplary management and marketing it has had.”

He pointed to the museum ship USS Intrepid in New York City which has had repeated money problems despite being in a place with such a big population and a huge number of tourists.

Professor Goldblatt said: “It’s because it has not had the same quality of management and marketing that Britannia has enjoyed or the ship in San Diego.

“But it shows it’s not just a case of sailing a ship into a port and people will come and visit.

“It still requires strong marketing and management.”

Some 250,000 people a year visit Britannia and Professor Goldblatt said having HMS Edinburgh close by could boost numbers by ten or 20 per cent. As the News reported yesterday, in McLellan’s Edinburgh, the berth could also have a beneficial knock-on boom for the Ocean Terminal.

The professor added: “Co-location is one of the growing trends in visitor attractions – having two attractions of a similar nature close together.

It’s like in a shopping mall, people like to go to one place and use their time efficiently to see as much as possible.”

Independent Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald, who has been lobbying for HMS Edinburgh to come to Leith, has said she hopes the Scottish Government and

Visit Scotland will chip in to help the council secure the ship.

The Fortress of the Sea

HMS Edinburgh was built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead, launched on April 14, 1983 and commissioned on December 17, 1985.

Known as the “Fortress of the Sea”, she served in the Second Gulf War in 2003 and carried out a range of other duties.

She underwent a 17.5 million refit in 2010, returning to the fleet in October that year.

HMS Edinburgh was the last of the Type 42 destroyer to serve in the Royal Navy and was decommissioned on June 6 this year after a farewell tour of Great Britain, which ended with two days when she was open to the public in Portsmouth.
 

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Coast Guard Works Hard to Preserve History
Nov 05, 2013
U.S. Coast Guard| by Lt. j.g. Dion Williams

Surrounded by turquoise waters and nestled in a corner of Key West, Fla., the 327-foot Coast Guard Cutter Ingham proudly displays the service’s colors and is a reminder of the rich history of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Commissioned Sept. 12, 1936, Ingham served 52 years throughout the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and participated in both World War II and the Vietnam War. In 1985, Ingham became the oldest active duty and most decorated naval ship serving the nation. Upon its decommissioning May 27, 1988, Ingham was donated to the Patriots Point Museum in Charleston, S.C.

Berthed alongside other notable naval vessels such as the USS Yorktown, Ingham found itself forgotten in history, slowly slipping away with time. However, in 2009, Ingham received a new lease on life and was transferred to its new home in Key West and opened as the U.S. Coast Guard Ingham Memorial Museum.

Upon departure from Patriot’s Point, the cutter completed a period in dry dock to repair, preserve and document its underbody hull condition. Despite extensive work on the ship, there is till work to be done and the Ingham is in a constant state of restoration in Key West.

During a recent mid-patrol break, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Decisive provided much needed support for a multitude of restoration and repair projects.Decisive crewmembers overhauled the emergency diesel generator’s cooling water pump, repaired the ship’s log office air conditioner, polished and restored bridge equipment, removed trash and completed general clean-up and organization of the many spaces around the ship.

Decisive’s crewmembers were astonished to find the functionality that still exists aboard the Ingham after having been out of service for more than 25 years. 

“I was actually shocked at the overall condition of the ship. For it to have been decommissioned in 1988, it still looks amazing,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Moncrief, a yeoman aboard the Decisive.

Many of Decisive’s engineers took part in the restoration of the decommissioned cutter’s antiquated systems.

“It was a pleasure to participate in the restoration of a Treasury-Class cutter,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Chase Spitzkopf, an engineer aboard the Decisive. “I hope that our volunteer work encourages fellow shipmates to do the same and I can’t wait to go back.”

With a vast network of Ingham sailors and supporters spread out across the country, the museum staff ensured the Decisive crew’s effort was documented and placed on the museum’s Facebook page.

Many of those who once called Ingham home expressed their gratitude with keeping the cutter’s legacy alive and preserving it for tomorrow.

“It was truly an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to assist the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Memorial Museum,” said Cmdr. Mark Walsh, Decisive’s commanding officer. “Ingham’s legacy lives through today’s cutter fleet and those cuttermen and women who diligently carry out the mission every day.”

 

 

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Problem with wharf closes USS Salem in Quincy until spring
By Patrick Ronan
The Patriot Ledger
Last update Oct 05, 2013

 QUINCY

The nonprofit company that owns the USS Salem at the Quincy shipyard expects to lose one-third of its annual revenue while the ship is closed for safety reasons.

The MBTA shut down access to the vessel – a former Navy cruiser now serving as a museum – on Sept. 20 after discovering that the wharf next to the ship was unstable. As a result, the United States Shipbuilding Museum, the private nonprofit that owns the Salem, won’t host its Haunted Ship program, the company’s biggest fundraiser of the year, which was supposed to start this Friday.

The MBTA owns the wharf as part of its Fore River shipyard commuter boat station.

Michael Condon, executive director of the nonprofit, said the ship will likely be closed until the spring. He said losing the Haunted Ship this month and a series of Boy Scout visits scheduled for November takes away money typically used to pay the ship’s annual oil and electricity bills – up to $50,000.

“It is a traumatic event for us because it ultimately removes a big portion of our revenue stream,” Condon said.

In response to the ship shutdown, Condon is planning several other fundraisers to try to make up the projected losses. Also, he said the MBTA will allow the shipbuilding museum to use the ferry station parking lot to hold a haunted house during the last week of October.

The USS Salem, a Des Moines-class heavy cruiser, was built at the Quincy shipyard in the 1940s. The Navy commissioned it in 1949 and decommissioned it in 1959.

In 1994, the Salem returned to Quincy and a year later was recommissioned as a museum. Tours and educational programming are offered aboard the ship throughout the year.

During the summer, inspectors discovered that the piles supporting the wharf and sea wall next to the USS Salem were deteriorating, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

The gangway used to board the ship runs over the wharf, and the T was worried that a sudden failure of the wharf could injure someone on the gangway.

“Temporary stabilization repairs will restore vertical support of the wharf and lateral support of the sea wall until long-term repair or replacement measures are taken,” Pesaturo said, adding that the repairs will not have any impact on the T’s ferry services out of Quincy.

Condon said the nonprofit, which also has two part-time employees and roughly 25 volunteers, leases its docking space from the MBTA. But he said the state has agreed not to charge rent until the ship can reopen.

The impact of the ship’s closure was felt last week when a reunion for former USS Salem crew members was held in the parking lot next to the ship.

“They have a liability, and I don’t blame them,” Condon said of the MBTA’s decision to close the ship. “As much as we don’t like it, we get it.”

People can donate to the shipbuilding museum by visiting www.uss-salem.org.
 

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Storis Supporters See Ray of Hope in Saving Cutter
By Jay Barrett - KMXT, Kodiak
Posted on October 29, 2013 at 6:07 am

Fans of the retired U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis have been holding their collective breath all weekend, hoping there might be a way to prevent the scrapping of the ship in Mexico. Documents were forwarded to members of the Storis Museum Saturday morning indicating the ship might contain too much hazardous material to be exported under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Jon Ottman is a historic preservation consultant and marine historian based in Michigan. He authored the successful application to place the Storis on the National Register of Historic Places.

He says that while some PCBs were removed from the ship, more may be contained in parts of the ship that would only be exposed and made dangerous if the Storis were broken up 

“The information that we have received indicated that the report that was used to clear the vessel for export for scrapping was flawed in that while the report had indicated the un-encapsulated PCBs on-board the vessel was removed the report does not indicate the other PCBs that would have been contained on the vessel in various locations throughout the ship, such as paint, gasket material, rubber insulation and various types of wire insulation aboard the vessel, that’s all still on board the ship.”

Because of that, Ottman says the Storis should not be exported to another country that might not have as strict environmental laws as the U.S.

“It’s an unfortunate situation but it would appear the EPA, the Unite States Coast Guard, the U.S. Maritime Administration and the U.S. General Services Administration should have been aware of all this, and they’re basically complicit in releasing a ship that should not be going to a foreign ship breaker. They let her go.”

PCBs, or poly-chlorinated biphenyls, were once widely used in electrical systems, paint and heat shielding until being banned in 1979 because of their persistent environmental toxicity and link to cancer.

Ottman says supporters of the Storis have contacted Alaska Senator Mark Begich for assistance.

“At this point, Senator Begich’s staff are trying to reach out to the EPA to see where the process went wrong and what the situation is from that perspective. They’re also reaching out to the Mexican authorities through the Mexican Embassy to let them know the vessel is actually en route at this point so that they can be aware that there is a contaminated vessel that is en route to their country. They may have the opportunity, the Mexican authorities, to turn the ship away because of what she contains on board.”

Ottman says if the Storis can be kept from leaving the country and the federal government can be convinced that the disposal was flawed, the process could go back to square one:

“Because the GSA listed the vessel as a repairable ship and did not indicate in their original listing for her on the GSA auction site that she contained hazardous materials that would have to be handled in a special fashion, or that should she be desired by someone for ship-breaking, that it would have to be done domestically. Those are all very serious shortcomings in the original General Services auction listing.”

The current owners of the Storis are Mark Jurisich and John Bryan, co-owners of US Metals Recovery of San Diego. They bought the 71-year-old ship at auction this summer for $70,100. The Storis was taken under tow late Friday near San Francisco.

The Storis was commissioned in September 1942 and served until February 2007. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places last December.
 

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Vallejo: Old sailors work to prepare unique World War II ship for Fleet Week
By Robert Rogers
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 09/12/2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Updated:  09/13/2013 09:50:40 PM PDT 

VALLEJO

-- Below deck, down the steep metal stairs, the aroma of salt water, oil paint, naval fuel and cordite provides a powerful blast of nostalgia to any old sea dog. Allan Jessop, a square-jawed 71-year-old ("too old for Vietnam, too young for Korea," he says) drives a power drill into the galley wall of the world's last remaining World War II LCS combat vessel. Gordon Stutrud, another volunteer, looks on. "There's something special about her," said Stutrud, who was stationed off the shore of Cuba when the world stood at the brink of nuclear war in 1962. "Every time I come aboard, the smell, the feel, it all takes me back 50 years."Jessop and Stutrud are among the handful of volunteers -- mostly retirees and Navy veterans -- working feverishly to have LCS 102 ready to sail on its own power for Fleet Week in October. If these old-timers can complete their mission, they say this 387-ton U.S. Navy Landing Craft Support vessel, one of only 130 ever built, could become the largest World War II combat ship still able to sail under its own power in the United States.

The National Association of USS LCS (L) 1-130 veterans group, which owns the 158-foot ship, has for years toiled at Mare Island in Vallejo toward its goal of restoring the LCS 102 to full operation. "I don't know that we'll make it to Fleet Week this year, but we will get there," Stutrud said. "We would join the parade of ships, and it would be glorious."

Jessop, in blue overalls and mopping his brow during a quick break, was more firm.

"The goal is Fleet Week," he said. San Francisco Fleet Week, scheduled Oct. 7-13, celebrates the Bay Area's rich naval tradition and honors the men and women who served in the past and today. The event draws tens of thousands of spectators each year. Dozens of World War II ships have been restored and preserved as museums. The USS Iowa, the battleship on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt made several trans-Atlantic voyages, was recently tugged from Richmond to Los Angeles for installation as a floating museum. But because of costs, age and modern nautical regulations, keeping a World War II ship seaworthy has been seen as untenable. But not for the volunteers of LCS 102. "It takes money and work to keep her going, but it's worth it," Stutrud said. The ship is already a historical marvel, a heavily armed battle tank on water designed for maximum potency in the hellish, close-quarters combat of the South Pacific. Built in Portland, Ore., in February 1945, it reached the Pacific theater for nine months of World War II combat.

Specially built as an amphibious ship for island battles in the Pacific, the "Mighty Midget" was heavily armed to lay close-range supporting fire for landing forces on beaches. The flat bottom and skegs were designed to let the ship beach itself and remain intact to re-enter the water.

Six of the 130 built were destroyed in battle, Jessop said, and the subsequent 68 years has whittled the original population down, so all that remains is the nearly pristine craft they labor on today.

"The ones that were destroyed were mostly taken out by kamikaze boats," said Jessop, himself a survivor of a heart attack and cancer. "You can't imagine how terrible the firefights were." That more ships and crews weren't lost is probably owed to the vessels' firepower. The LCS 102s bristled with more guns per ton,  "The kamikaze planes weren't able to get too close," Jessop said with a half-smile.

Theship faced enemy fire in Borneo, Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, it was lent to Japan for use in its small civil defense navy and renamed the Himawai. In 1966, it found a new home in Thailand, where it was used by the Thai navy and called the Nakha, which means "serpent," until 2007. In 2007, the National Association of USS LCS (L) 1-130 bought the ship and had it towed to Vallejo.

The crusty bandof volunteers has toiled for years, raising money and fixing everything they can on the vessel. They fire up the engines once a month and have new radar and radio equipment they are set to install. To make it seaworthy, they'll need to shore up instability in the propeller shafts, mount sophisticated radar equipment and do some electrical and sewage work, but they're close.

Jeff Nilsson, executive director of the Historic Naval Ships Association in Tidewater, Va., said he knows of a handful of World War II ships still able to sail in U.S. waters, but none are like the LCS 130. "There are some Liberty and Victory ships out there that can get underway, but they aren't combat vessels, and the guns they had are gone," he said. "There are a few small PT boats out there, too."

The menacing guns still swing on the turrets, giving the ship the guise of an instrument of war. The gun sights on the anti-aircraft cannons still resemble spider webs, and shells up to 35 pounds are stored below -- sans gunpowder, of course.

The volunteers think a voyage will raise the profile, draw more funding and enhance the ship's prospects as a self-sustaining, working attraction. They'd like to move from their $1,200-per-month dock in Vallejo to less expensive, more accessible digs in Petaluma, Napa or San Francisco.

On a recent afternoon, a former brigadier general and military historian named David Henley came from Newport Beach to visit the ship he'd heard so much about. As the volunteers kept up their race against time to restore the ship, Henley marveled at the gem tucked on the Vallejo shore.

"You tip your cap to these guys," he said. "If they can get her to glide through the water again, what an accomplishment."

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726. Follow him at Twitter.com/roberthrogers.

Visit the ship

The LCS 102 is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Volunteers will give visitors tours of the ship and show educational videos. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. The ship is located at 1080 Nimitz Ave. at Mare Island, behind Building 117.
 

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Group trying to bring retired aircraft carrier to R.I. as a museum
September 09, 2013 11:30 PM
By TATIANA PINA
Providence Journal staff writer

 MIDDLETOWN — A vote last week by the Middletown Town Council in support of bringing the retired aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy to Rhode Island to use as a museum will help move the project forward, according to the president of the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame. 

The 6-to-1 vote doesn’t commit the town but it shows the Navy, which will decide if the group can have the ship, that the local government is in support of the effort, said Frank Lennon, the president of the non-profit Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame. 

Lennon said the group, which has been working since 2010 to bring the aircraft carrier to Rhode Island, hopes to dock the ship on federal land at the naval station. The plan is to locate the carrier at the Navy’s northernmost pier and move the fence line so it is accessible to the public. This plan would free visitors from having to go through the Navy base’s strict security.

The next step for the group is to come up with a proposal to move the fence line, Lennon said. He said the group expects to have a proposal within about two months.

Lennon said bringing the aircraft carrier to Rhode Island would produce jobs and attract visitors to the state and will not cost residents.

Lennon said $10.5 million in a conditional federal loan guarantee and pledges have been identified from money that was to go to the Saratoga project at Quonset Point before the Navy decided to scrap the Saratoga. He said $25 million to $35 million would be needed to pay for the project and that the group will commence to raise money.

The John F. Kennedy, known as Big John, was the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier built by the Navy and once carried 4,600 crew members and 70 combat aircraft. It was active in both Iraq wars and the war in Afghanistan and decommissioned in 2007.
 

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Storis Museum’s dream in peril
Cutter could come to Toledo — or be scrap
BY SAM GANS, TOLEDO BLADE STAFF WRITER

The fate of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Storis, which was built in Toledo, finally appeared settled in early June after six years of uncertainty.

The Storis, one of America's most accomplished and longest-serving vessels, was on the verge of returning home to Toledo to become the site of an educational and historical museum. Now, however, the ship seems headed to another end: The scrapyard.

But not if the Storis Museum can help it.

The Storis’ nearly 65-year run began on April 4, 1942, when it plunged into the water at the Toledo Shipbuilding Co. yards.

Its most notable achievement came in 1957 when it was one of three ships that were the first American vessels to circumnavigate North America via the Northwest Passage.

The ship served in the Atlantic Ocean in World War II, protected the Alaskan coast from Soviet threats during the Cold War, and spent much of its later years performing search and rescue operations and fisheries enforcement before it was decommissioned in 2007. Its impressive career earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 31,  2012.

But the Storis was sold by the General Services Administration to an unidentified buyer — most likely the head of a scrapping company — at auction for $70,100 on June 27, despite the nonprofit Storis Museum's efforts since 2007 to secure the ship through both congressional and administrative means.

Storis Museum President Jim Loback said he found out June 7 the ship would go to auction. Before that, he thought his organization, which is based in Juneau, would have an opportunity to acquire the ship from the GSA, which was told by the Coast Guard it could start the disposal process in May.

“It was surprising because [the GSA] told me that they were all working to see if there was some way to give us the ship and then they put it up for auction,” said Mr. Loback, 81, who served on the Storis in 1956 and 1957.

According to the GSA, the disposal process consists of screening the vessel for possible transfer to federal and state agencies as well as eligible nonprofit organizations. If no eligible recipients express interest, the vessel could be sold publicly.

Mr. Loback said when he asked why the ship was put to auction, he was told his organization did not qualify for transfer because GSA rules state that a museum must be owned and operating for one year with at least one full-time paid employee to be an eligible nonprofit group. Mr. Loback, who resides in Fountain Valley, Calif., said that creates a troublesome situation.

“That's kind of a dumb rule for a ship because you're going to use the ship as a museum, and that's going to be the house and everything else for it,” he said.

There was even more confusion after the auction, because the reserve — the undisclosed minimum amount of money set prior to an auction that's needed for a bid to be accepted — wasn't met.

Mr. Loback said he hoped this would mean more time for the Storis Museum to raise funds to purchase the vessel in a second auction with a lower reserve. However, the June 27 bid was still accepted to save taxpayer dollars and deter future government costs, according to an emailed statement from GSA regional public affairs officer Saudia Muwwakkil.

The buyer will have 10 business days to take the vessel once a certificate of financial responsibility is submitted and approved. The Storis currently sits in Suisun Bay in northern California, where the ship has been since its decommissioning.

Now the only hope for the Storis Museum to save the ship is through the winning bidder. The GSA has not released the bidder's name per privacy laws, but Mr. Loback said he was contacted by the winner about buying the ship. Mr. Loback did not wish to identify the bidder for fear of harming negotiations.

The museum had attempted to acquire the ship from 2008-12 through congressional action, but no bill was passed to transfer the ship from the Coast Guard to the Storis Museum, secretary Joe Geldhof said.

“We wanted to get Congress involved and have Congress pass it, because you don't have to deal with the shenanigans of the bureaucrats,” said Mr. Geldhof, 62, a lawyer in Juneau.

As discussions proceeded between the Storis Museum and the GSA in early May, the museum reached out to the Last Patrol, a local nonprofit group formed in 1995 that has tried unsuccessfully to bring ships for a museum to the Toledo area. On May 16, the Storis Museum and the Last Patrol formed an official legal partnership.

In early June, the two parties agreed the ship would be docked in Toledo, not Juneau, because it was more cost-efficient and because of the Maumee River's fresh water, low tides, and more visitor-appealing location.

“The plan for the ship coming to the Great Lakes was to use it as a museum ship and as a training vessel for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
... We wanted to have the ship back operational to help train the young kids; they range from 10-18,” said John Nowakowski, 49, of Swanton, a former Marine and commanding officer of the Last Patrol.

All that was left was transferring the ship from the GSA to the Storis Museum, which the museum and the Last Patrol thought would happen once they obtained funds necessary to repair and maintain the ship.

“We kept being told that we had anywhere from six months to a year to get everything in line,” Mr. Nowakowski said. They actually had just a few weeks before the auction.

Mr. Geldhof said he realizes the chances of buying the ship from the winning bidder are not good.

“The Storis is worthy of one last effort and we're going to give it a shot. We'll see how that goes,” Mr. Geldhof said. “We haven't given up the ship yet, and until it's actually under the torch, cut up, we'll keep trying to save it.”

 

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North Korea to put US spy ship captured in 1968 on display
USS Pueblo, seized off North Korean coast and still listed by US as commissioned navy vessel, to be unveiled at war museum
AP in Pyongyang
Thursday 25 July 2013 06.20 EDT

The only US navy ship being held by a foreign government is expected to go on display this week as the centerpiece of a North Korean war museum.

With a fresh coat of paint and a new home along the Pothong river, the USS Pueblo – a spy ship seized off North Korea's east coast in the late 1960s – will be unveiled at a renovated war museum to mark what Pyongyang calls Victory Day, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean war 60 years ago on Saturday.

The ship is North Korea's greatest cold war prize, a potent symbol of how the country has stood up to the great power of the United States, once in an all-out ground war and now with its push to develop nuclear weapons and sophisticated missiles.

Many of the crew who served on the vessel, who spent 11 months in captivity in North Korea, want to bring the Pueblo home. Throughout its history, they argue, the navy's motto has been "don't give up the ship".

The Pueblo is still listed as a commissioned navy vessel, the only one being held by a foreign nation. But the US has made little effort to get it back. At times outsiders were not even sure where North Korea was keeping the ship or what it planned to do with it.

The Pueblo incident is a painful reminder of miscalculation and confusion, as well as the unresolved hostilities that continue to keep the two countries in what seems to be a permanent state of distrust and preparation for another clash despite the truce that ended the 1950-53 war.

Already more than 40 years old and only lightly armed so that it would not look conspicuous or threatening as it carried out its intelligence missions, the USS Pueblo was attacked and easily captured on 23 January 1968. Surrounded by half a dozen enemy ships with MiG fighter jets providing air cover, the crew was unable to put up much of a fight.

They scrambled to destroy intelligence materials but soon discovered they were not well prepared for even that. A shredder aboard the Pueblo quickly became jammed with the piles of papers anxious crew members shoved into it. They tried burning the documents in waste baskets, but smoke quickly filled the cabins. And there were not enough weighted bags to toss all the secret material overboard.

One US sailor was killed when the ship was strafed by machine gunfire and boarded. The remaining 82, including three injured, were taken prisoner. The North Koreans sailed the Pueblo to the port of Wonsan, where for the survivors the real ordeal began.

"I got shot up in the original capture, so we were taken by bus and then train for an all-night journey to Pyongyang in North Korea, and then they put us in a place we called the barn," said Robert Chicca, a marine corps sergeant who served as a Korean linguist on the Pueblo. "We had fried turnips for breakfast, turnip soup for lunch, and fried turnips for dinner … There was never enough to eat, and personally I lost about 60 pounds over there."

Although the ship was conducting intelligence operations, crew members say most of them had little useful information for the North Koreans. They say they were beaten severely during interrogations.

"The Koreans basically told us, they put stuff in front of us, they said you were here, you were spying, you will be shot as spies," said Earl Phares, who was cleaning up after the noon meal in the galley when the attack began. "Everybody got the same amount of beatings in the beginning."

North Korea said the ship had entered its territorial waters, though the US maintained that it was in international waters 15 miles off the nearest land. The incident quickly escalated. The US, already deeply embroiled in the Vietnam war, sent several aircraft carriers to the Sea of Japan and demanded the captives be released.

North Korea responded by putting members of the crew before cameras to confess publicly. The crew members planted defiant codes into forced letters of confession and extended their middle fingers in images sent around the world. That led to further beatings when the North Koreans figured out the gesture's meaning.

On 21 December 1968, Major General Gilbert H Woodward, the chief US negotiator, signed a statement acknowledging that the Pueblo had "illegally intruded into the territorial waters of North Korea" and apologizing for "the grave acts committed by the US ship against" North Korea. Before and after, he read into the record a statement disavowing the confession.

The hostages were released across the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas two days before Christmas, 335 days after their capture.

The navy considered a court martial for the ship's captain, Commander Lloyd M "Pete" Bucher, for letting the Pueblo fall into enemy hands without firing a shot and for failing to destroy much of the ship's classified material. But he was never brought to trial. John H Chafee, secretary of the navy at the time, said Bucher and the other crew members had "suffered enough".

To this day members of the Pueblo crew say Bucher made the right decision, though years later his second-in-command publicly questioned Bucher's decisions not to fight. "It would have been nice to take out some of the guys, some of them, and maybe go down fighting, but it would have been total suicide," said Phares. "We never thought anything would happen, and we weren't supposed to create an international incident."

In 2002 the former US ambassador to South Korea Donald P Gregg said a North Korean foreign ministry official had hinted at a deal to return the Pueblo. But when he later visited Pyongyang, he said he was told the climate had changed and a return was no longer an option.

In January the next year, the Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell reintroduced a resolution in Congress asking North Korea to return the ship. There has been no progress since, however – at least none that has been made public.

"The ship was named after Pueblo, Colorado, and they would have loved to have the ship back," Chicca said. "It's very disappointing to have it still there, and still being used as anti-American propaganda."

The planned display of the ship by North Korea hangs over the heads of the crew members who have long campaigned for its return. "I'll never give up, but I don't think it's ever coming back," Phares said. "It's just unfortunate that we got put in that situation, and that the top brass blamed us, or blamed Bucher, for everything."

 

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Bid to Turn Fire Department Ship Into a Museum Founders
By COREY KILGANNON
The New York Times
July 9, 2013

During its 72 years of service as a New York Fire Department powerhouse boat, the 134-foot-long Fire Fighter was a comforting sight at many harbor blazes and emergencies, including the Sept. 11 attacks, when it helped supply water to firefighters at ground zero.

So when a group of historic-minded boat enthusiasts obtained the decommissioned boat last October from the city for a $250 processing fee, they assumed it would be easy to find a home along the New York City waterfront to set up the Fire Fighter as a museum ship.

That has not been the case.

Their attempts to secure a berth in the city — including the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Bridge Park and waterfront locations on Staten Island and along the West Side of Manhattan — have been rejected.

Even a city-owned dock on City Island in the Bronx proved unavailable, said one of the buyers, Charlie Ritchie, a youth counselor in Yonkers.

“The politicians should be ashamed of themselves,” Mr. Ritchie said. “They had an important historical treasure here and they let it go.”

“There’s no more important boat in New York City, and it should be there right now,” he added.

Having come up empty in the city, a retired firefighter friend mentioned the village of Greenport, near the eastern end of the north fork of Long Island.

Village officials there saw the boat’s potential as a tourist attraction, and offered inexpensive dock space.

But with the arrival of the busy summer boating season, controversy has arisen, complicating the prospect of the Fire Fighter remaining in the village.

“Everyone likes the idea that the boat has this history behind it, but nobody wants to be the landlord,” said Mr. Ritchie, who along with other members of the Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum group, as well as a crew of retired Fire Department personnel once assigned to the vessel, sailed the Fire Fighter in February from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and tied it up at a village dock.

But village officials, needing to make room for higher-paying yachts, want to move the Fire Fighter to another spot, the Railroad Pier, which sees tourist traffic.

But this idea has upset commercial fishermen who rent space along the pier and who fear that the fireboat will force some of them to move.

Other local residents and waterfront merchants have called the Railroad Pier a dangerous and inappropriate place to dock an aging fireboat that could pose a hazard — it could sink, leak fuel or oil, or become ripped free during a severe storm.

“The potential environmental hazard here is quite large — nobody knows the condition of the boat,” said Stephen Clarke, who owns Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding Company.

John Costello, a local dockbuilder who has worked extensively on the Railroad Pier, said it “was not designed for that size boat; it’s the wrong spot.”

“The pier has been neglected and hasn’t been maintained,” Mr. Costello added.

Michael Osinski, who grows oysters commercially off his property close to the Railroad Pier, said he feared that a leak from the Fire Fighter could contaminate local waters and devastate his business.

He worried that the vessel was “an accident waiting to happen” and a potential liability for the village.

Perhaps the most prudent move, Mr. Osinski said, was made by New York City officials when they got rid of the boat and gave the new owners “just enough gas to get it to Greenport.”

Despite the opposition, the Village Board voted recently to let the Fire Fighter dock at the Railroad Pier, as long as the boat’s owners have the Fire Fighter pulled out of the water and inspected, which would most likely cost more than $100,000, and obtain an insurance policy covering environmental cleanup, in case of a spill.

But the group seeking to turn the Fire Fighter into a museum said it did not have deep pockets.

“I don’t think we’ll get a millionaire donor to save us, but we’ve been staying alive on people donating fives and tens, and I’ll take that,” Mr. Ritchie said, adding that despite the setbacks, large crowds have turned out for free weekend tours of the Fire Fighter.

“With all the people showing up, we can hardly work on the boat,” he said.

Many of the visitors are former firefighters who were once assigned to the boat, or their relatives, Mr. Ritchie said.

The Fire Fighter is in good running shape, with most of its original parts and features, including its two huge diesel engines and its ability to pump roughly 20,000 gallons per minute of water, Mr. Ritchie said.

On July 4, several retired firefighters helped prepare and then operate the pumps to conduct a spectacular water display for crowds along the town’s piers.

“It’s from the days of blood-and-guts firefighting,” Mr. Ritchie said, listing exploits like having survived pier explosions and being nearly crushed while fighting a fire that engulfed a military ship in 1942.

The Fire Fighter was used as both a display and for protection at the 1939 World’s Fair, in Flushing Bay, and was part of the parade of ships during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. It responded to the Staten Island Ferry crash in 2003 and to the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing of the US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009.

And now it sits in a limbo of politics and bureaucracy while Suffolk County officials, who have the final say for complicated administrative reasons, decide if the Fire Fighter can be moved to the Railroad Pier.

Mr. Ritchie sees Greenport as a worthy place to dock and restore the Fire Fighter and to use it for educational and recreational sails for the public, as well as programs for military veterans, students and others.

“The boat’s got a life right now,” he said, “and to have it pushed to another place would hurt us.”
 

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The First World War's last surviving battleship is on course to be transformed into a floating museum after provisionally securing a 12 million lottery funding boost.

 The National Museum of the Royal Navy is now confident HMS Caroline will be opened as a "world class" visitor attraction ahead of the centenary of its most famous wartime engagement - the 1916 Battle of Jutland off the coast of Denmark.

The derelict vessel, which is currently docked in the same Belfast shipyards where the Titanic was built, was in danger of rusting away before moves to restore it started to build up steam last year.

The Heritage Lottery Fund gave initial approval to a 12.2 million funding application to finance the restoration - the largest ever commitment made by the HLF in Northern Ireland.

It has pledged 845,000 in first stage development funding and, if that work is completed as envisaged, the remainder of the money will then be released.

The museum would complement a variety of maritime attractions in Belfast's old shipyards, including the 97 million Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.

A light cruiser, weighing 3,750 tons and measuring 446 feet, HMS Caroline was part of the screening force that sailed out ahead of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet during the Battle of Jutland to establish the position of the German battleships.

Captain John Rees, chief of staff at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), said the significance of the ship could not be overstated.

"She is a one of a kind, an iconic ship," he said.

"The only floating survivor of all the fleets - both German and British - that fought in the First World War and the Battle of Jutland."

A National Heritage Memorial Fund grant of just over 1 million will go towards urgent preventative work to secure HMS Caroline.
An application for more funding is being made in order to proceed with full restoration of the 446 ft ship.  Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
 

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New York City Appoints Employees to Serve as Seaport Trustees
By ROBIN POGREBIN
The New York Times
July 9, 2013

New York City has appointed three city employees to be board members for the struggling nonprofit organization that runs the South Street Seaport Museum as the city works to find a steward to help operate the museum.

But the Department of Cultural Affairs said on Monday that the city had not formally taken control of the organization, which remains an independent nonprofit.

To maintain its standing as a nonprofit, the museum needs at least three board members, Danai Pointer, a department spokeswoman said.

Last month the Museum of the City of New York decided to pull out of running the institution, having deemed its current condition unworkable. The museum has been struggling with financial problems that were exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy.

“During this time our hope is that a successor steward will take responsibility for the museum’s mission and collection,” said Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner.

Officials said the three employees serving temporarily as trustees had volunteered for the role. Two of them, Christie Huus and David Sheehan, were appointed on behalf of the mayor’s office. The third, Tracey Knuckles, was appointed on behalf of the cultural affairs commissioner.

The board, whose appointment was reported by the Wall Street Journal, then named Jonathan Boulware, the museum’s waterfront director, as an interim president who will oversee its operations and collections, including its historic ships.

The museum is hoping to find another entity to take over the organization. If no group comes forward, state officials will help determine whether to close the museum or disperse its collection.
 

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Port Burwell officially opens HMCS Ojibwa as naval museum
By Ben Forrest, St. Thomas Times-Journal
Sunday, July 7, 2013 10:21:45 EDT AM

Jim Gordon knew the day he turned 17 he would leave his home in Truro, Nova

Scotia and go to Halifax, and he knew that when he arrived he would join the Royal Canadian Navy.

Gordon, 69, didn't join for romantic reasons. It was nothing like the call of the sea that drew him, he said in an interview.

A friend had joined the navy and told Gordon they gave sailors lots to eat. They dressed them and looked after them.

“That's good enough for me,” Gordon recalls saying. “I'm with you.”

He joined and stayed in the navy over 30 years, about 15 of them aboard the HMCS Ojibwa, which he helped officially open as a naval museum in Port Burwell on Saturday morning.

Gordon, who retired with the rank of chief petty officer first class in 1997, was on the first crew to ever work aboard the Ojibwa, a Cold War submarine that was commissioned in 1965.

And he was there with dozens of other submariners in Port Burwell on Saturday to usher the ship into her new life as a museum, with about 300 dignitaries, volunteers and other veterans looking on.

“It was important for me to know that I had lived so much of her career with my career,” Gordon said. “I wanted to see the end.”

Saturday's ceremony was a chance to celebrate the end of Project Ojibwa – the campaign to bring the ship to Port Burwell – and the launch of a museum of naval history in the small Elgin County town.

“We're very pleased to finally be officially open and have the public going through it,” said Project Ojibwa executive director Ian Raven.

“It's something that has been very important for us for many years and now it can begin to become important to the whole community and region.”

The project began in 2009 and took four years of hard work to bring it to where it is today, Raven added.

Over 1,000 people have been through the submarine since its soft opening on Canada Day weekend, and Raven said he hoped there would be another 600 people through this Saturday.

There are plans to construct a museum building just east of the vessel as soon as the museum can organize the financing, Raven said.

Plans call for a 15,000 sq. ft. building that will likely cost between $3 million and $4 million, he said.

“Our fundraisers are hard at work, and all funds are gratefully received,” Raven added.

As for Gordon, he was among the first to tour the HMCS Ojibwa on Saturday and hoped to return to it later when no one else was around.

“That's when I'll be able to close my eyes and hear the voices, hear the echoes, see the people operating, doing their things,” he said.

“That's when I can clearly see it. It's as clear as a bell, and I love being in that space – in that particular place.

“I hate coming back to the reality of, 'Hey. It's over.' ”
 

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Two states eager to be new home for the historic USS Olympia
July 6, 2013 12:07 am
By Joann Loviglio / The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Caretakers of a deteriorating piece of maritime military history hope to have its future secured by next summer and continue working to ensure it stays afloat in the meantime.

The USS Olympia, a one-of-a-kind steel cruiser from the Spanish-American War, ideally would have been dry-docked every 20 years for maintenance but has not been out of the water since 1945. Since taking stewardship of the National Historic Landmark from a cash-strapped nonprofit in 1996, the Independence Seaport Museum has spent about $5 million on short-term repairs, inspections and maintenance, but cannot afford to keep the ship.

A field of six organizations initially vying for the Olympia has been narrowed to two preservation groups -- one in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the 5,500-ton warship was launched in 1892, and one in Port Royal, S.C., a strategic support post for the Atlantic fleet during the Spanish-American War.

Both groups will continue refining their proposals until the finalist is chosen next summer by an advisory team including officials from the museum, National Park Service and Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission. The Navy will make the ultimate call on whether to accept the advisory team's recommendation.

Officials have said without extensive repairs, the rusting Olympia will sink at its moorings, be sold for scrap or scuttled for an artificial reef. They put out a call in 2011 seeking nonprofits and foundations to take stewardship of the weathered old cruiser, said to be the only steel warship in the world still afloat.

"We're on a path to preservation ... but we have a long way to go," said Jesse Lebovics, manager of Independence Seaport Museum historic ships.

The finalist must demonstrate it has the expertise, location and money to dredge the marina, tow the 344-foot-long ship to dry-dock, restore it and establish an endowment for future upkeep. Estimates have put that total price tag at $10 million to $20 million. The deal also includes several thousand Olympia artifacts and documents that also will require museum-level care and maintenance, Independence Seaport Museum chief curator Craig Bruns said.

"We have a vested interest in making sure the institution the collections are going to is mature enough to care for these items," Mr. Bruns said. "A ship is a ship, but these are items donated by families of sailors on the Olympia. It's their closest connection to their ancestor."

Though the Olympia's condition remains dire, caretakers continue their efforts to keep further deterioration at bay until the transfer. In the past three years, about $500,000 in donation-funded stabilization work has included hundreds of patches to the leaky deck and corroded lower hull, updated high-water and fire alarms, a new network of bilge-pumping pipes in case of a hull breech, and repairs and maintenance to riggings.

"Everything we've done we've done well but they're still interim steps," Mr. Lebovics said. "The underlying problems remain and they're big."
 

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Chicago's Field Museum reorganizes amid money woes
By TAMMY WEBBER, Associated Press
Updated 2:16 pm, Friday, July 5, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) — Matt von Konrat is animated as he talks about a plant specimen pulled from the vast botanical collection at the Field Museum of Natural History. Documentation shows it was collected in 1996 in a Colombian rainforest and tested for compounds that might be used to treat HIV, AIDS or cancer.

"Imagine if you made some amazing drug discovery," von Konrat says, sweeping an arm toward cabinets holding some of his department's more than 3 million specimens, including ones collected by famed navigator Capt. James Cook in the 1770s. "You would know exactly where (the plant) came from and its exact identity" so you could find it again.

Best known for impressive public displays such as Sue, the towering Tyrannosaurus rex that greets visitors in the lobby of its Lake Michigan campus, the Field Museum's larger mission always has been behind-the-scenes research on its 25 million-piece — and growing — collection of birds, mammals, fish, plants, fossils and artifacts. Field scientists travel the globe to retrieve specimens that could produce medicines, document the effects of climate change or explain the secrets of genetics.

But the 120-year-old museum, founded during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and named for department store magnate Marshall Field, now is setting the scientific world abuzz for another reason.

Faced with almost $170 million in debt, the museum is cutting next year's research budget 20 percent, including by shrinking its science staff and merging departments. While natural history museums across the U.S. are under pressure to stay relevant to the public, the Field stands out for its financial woes, experts say, and for speculation over whether the problems will affect its future as a pre-eminent research center.

"It's one of the great natural history museums of the world and has been for a very long time ... but it's on the verge of not being so important," said Michael Donohue, curator of the botany department at Yale University's Peabody Museum.

Since the beginning of the year, the museum's anthropology, botany, geology and zoology departments have been merged into a single unit, and by the end of the year, its science staff likely will have been cut to 152, down from 170 earlier this year. That includes the loss of six of 27 curators, with two others still considering whether to leave.

The museum's financial problems stem from a decision over a decade ago to issue $90 million in bonds for construction projects that included a subterranean storage center for much of its collection. The museum's board assumed it could raise enough money through a capital campaign to keep the museum on solid footing.

But when that didn't happen, it had to begin dipping into its endowment. Finally, in December, the museum announced that it would cut $5 million from its budget — $3 million of that from the science program — and would try to raise its endowment by $100 million.

Richard Lariviere, who took over as Field president in October, said the museum's troubles, though real, are overstated, and the museum will emerge stronger within two years.

"We have financial challenges, but ... we're in very good shape," he said.

The reorganization, he said, will allow the museum to focus on the most important research and foster more collaboration among scientists, as well as encourage more outside researchers to use the collections. "We want even more people to come than have done in the past."

As an attraction, the Field also will also build visible laboratories where the public can watch and interact with scientists.

"I can't say it's been a pain-free process, but I think (the changes) are going to be great," and expand research opportunities, said Corine Vriesendorp, a plant ecologist at the Field.

But others say it is doubtful the institution can sustain the same level of scientific inquiry or stage the most innovative exhibits.

"A good reputation and a good, quality program take decades to build, but it's taken just six months," to damage both, said Mark Westneat, a 22-year Field veteran who was chairman of the former zoology department and whose research focuses on threats to coral reefs.

"I love this place, but there has been a needless ripping apart and disrespecting what I have loved over the years," said Westneat, who's negotiating with a university to move his laboratory there.

In the past, Field scientists used a decades-old collection of peregrine falcon eggs to draw a direct correlation between the use of DDT and thinning eggshells, leading to the pesticide's ban. They've helped indigenous communities in Ecuador reclaim land damaged by oil drilling.

Donohue, the Peabody curator, said museums and universities rely on each other's research to make scientific discoveries and advancements.

"To suddenly lose (scientists from) an important institution like the Field hurts the overall effort," including such things as mapping where specimens are found, Donohue said.

Carroll Joynes, co-founder of the University of Chicago's Cultural Policy Center, said all museums must take risks to stay fresh, but the Field took a big financial gamble.

"Then if it does not come true, you're caught in a horrible expense bind," said Joynes, adding that he believes the museum is now in good hands.

The museum says it has identified all of the cuts it needed. The endowment campaign has not yet begun.

Lariviere said the Field always will put research first because that's "why people find us valuable and interesting. Otherwise we'd just be a cabinet of curiosities."

 

 

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Battleship New Jersey to receive $1.4 million in state funding
By Jason Laday/South Jersey Times
July 03, 2013

CAMDEN — The Battleship New Jersey will receive $1.4 million in funding as part of the state budget passed last week, after years of dwindling aid from Trenton.

While officials at the battleship museum had initially requested $1.75 million to fund operations and pay its utility costs, Chief Executive Officer Philip Rowan said Tuesday they will “make it work.”

“We’ll trim the sails a bit, to use a nautical term,” he said.

In a statement issued by Sen. Donald Norcross announcing the funding, Rowan thanked legislators for the aid.

“This is great news for the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, and it couldn’t come at a better time,” Rowan said. “The state’s continued support will help us meet our utilities costs, insurance, staffing, marketing and maintenance of the 887-foot long ship located on the Camden Waterfront.

“More to the point, it helps us educate our youth, honor our veterans and preserve the history and artifacts of the world’s greatest battleship.”

Since opening as a museum in October 2001, the ship museum has relied on aid from the state to keep itself running and open to the public 

According to previous comments from Rowan, state aid peaked in 2007 at $3.4 million, but later dwindled to $1.74 million before bottoming out at absolutely zero dollars, in 2011, although the battleship did receive $907,420 in the first half of the year from the previous fiscal year’s budget.

The battleship, which celebrated its 70th “birthday” last May, received $660,000 in 2012.

In January, Rowan described a four-year financial plan currently in place that he and other officials hope will see the ship museum become self-sufficient.

“The state is committed to preserving the Battleship New Jersey as part of South Jersey’s rich history,” said Norcross in a statement released by his office. “This is a one-of-a-kind ship, built on our river and launched through the sweat of New Jersey’s workers. It’s vital that we maintain this national treasure so closely tied to our industrial past.

“The funding is a long time coming and will help the ship carry out its mission to educate visitors from around the world on one of the country’s last remaining battleships,” he added. “It is our duty as the ship’s stewards to make sure that it gets the resources necessary to remain open and accessible to our residents.”

According to Rowan, the museum has been seeing “great” business so far this season. Although he added the recent rain storms have kept some away.

“We do half of our business for the whole year in the months of June, July and August,” he said.
 

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Reason for the re-dedication of Memorial Stadium at Indiana University
From: Dana Tinsley
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 7:59 AM

Indiana University will add new emphasis to the name and look of Memorial Stadium this fall with the acquisition and installation of the original prow from the battleship USS Indiana. The mainmast and two guns from the Indiana have been on prominent display outside the west gates to the football stadium since 1966 — six years after the stadium opened. “It’s going to look awesome,” athletic director Fred Glass said Monday. “By pure serendipity, the guns are at each end like bookends and the prow is going to fit right in the middle, as if we had planned for it.”

The initiative to acquire the prow came from a letter to the editor of The Herald-Times written by Bloomington resident Scott Clarke in April 2012. Clarke saw the prow sitting in a parking lot outside a Berkeley, Calif., seafood restaurant and implored the university to acquire it and reunite it with the mainmast that flies the U.S. flag outside of Memorial Stadium.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie thought it was a great idea and assigned Kirk White to investigate the possibility. White is IU’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships and military liaison for the office of the president. White contacted IU’s San Francisco Bay alumni chapter, which reached out to the Frank Spenger family that had long operated a seafood restaurant and owned the relic.

The family agreed to donate the prow, or front portion of the ship that sits above the water line.

“Kirk (White) is going out there on July 8 and ride back with the prow as it sits atop an 18-wheeler,” Glass said. “It’s been a great cooperative venture. It was the president’s initiative, Kirk has been the real driver of the project, and we’re the beneficiaries. We’ve been keenly interested in putting more emphasis on the fact that Memorial Stadium is a tribute to our veterans. This was a completely unexpected and wholly appropriate way for us to do that.”

The USS Indiana was a 35,000-ton South Dakota class battleship, commissioned in April 1942. She participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands in November 1943 and the Marshall Islands in January 1944, and took part in the Marianas campaign in June 1944. Following an overhaul, she returned to the Western Pacific in January 1945 in time to participate in the invasion of Iwo Jima. The ship, which earned nine battle stars for her service in World War II, was decommissioned in September 1947 and then sold for scrap in 1963.

IU plans to rededicate the USS Indiana memorial Sept. 7 when the football Hoosiers play host to the U.S. Naval Academy’s football team, the Navy Midshipmen. “We’re going to have some big brass in from Washington and other special guests. It’s going to be a really neat thing for that game,” Glass said.

The IU athletic director said he hopes IU will be able to incorporate the Midshipmen in the ceremony.

“You know, last year we played a heartbreaker against Navy, losing by one point at Annapolis,” Glass said. “After the game, (coach) Kevin Wilson took his squad over to where the Midshipmen were singing their alma mater to the crowd and had our guys take their helmets off in a quiet salute to Navy and the Naval Academy.

“I can’t tell you how many letters and comments I got about what a class act that was by our guys under some pretty challenging circumstances,” Glass said. “I hope we can coordinate something with them, because while we may compete on the football field, this goes beyond that.”

 

 

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Navy Shipyard Puget Sound Seeks Volunteer Workers
Press Release
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) are seeking shipyard

volunteers to help overcome a staffing shortage of more than 600 mechanics, a result of the Navy-mandated hiring freeze.

Shipyard Commander Capt. Steve Williamson asked interested parties to put their name on the volunteer list. He is seeking both shipyard employees, with specialized experience who have moved into management, and unskilled workers who can perform basic manual tasks to allow the more experienced employees to fill in for the vacant mechanic positions.

"We are at a pivotal point," said Williamson. "We are going to rely on the talent of this command to step up and earn the trust we were given with the furlough exemption. Let me give you the bottom line here. We need you. We must do something different, so we can do what we have been asked to do.

"

The potential volunteer's list is being built rapidly. People can be assigned to where they are needed and where their initiative and skills can support the workload. A process is in place to match the volunteers' skills with the work that needs to be accomplished. 

During fiscal year 2013, all four naval shipyards are exempted from furloughs, as there is a critical need to return nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers to the fleet. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and IMF was preparing to offer jobs to more than 600 mechanics before the Navy mandated a temporary hiring freeze.

 

 

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Seaport Museum Set Adrift by the Museum of the City of New York
June 25, 2013
In the Air

The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), which in 2011 was given 18 months — plus a nine-month extension last year — to get the shipwrecked South Street Seaport Museum afloat again, is abandoning ship, taking the wind out of the ailing institution’s sails as it continues to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. “It’s a huge personal sadness for me,” Susan Henshaw Jones, the president of the MCNY who has also been serving as the Seaport Museum’s captain, told the New York Times. “It’s just not workable.”

Sandy really just did us in,” Jones added. “There still exists this huge amount of post-Sandy work that is enormous in terms of dollars, which is going to take years.” She said the board of the MCNY wanted her to focus on her work at the uptown institution.

When Sandy struck, the Seaport Museum had recently reopened after a year-long closure, and the storm decimated its admissions area, gift shop, and cafe, as well as its computer and electrical systems.

Now the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs is sweeping the horizon for another group or institution to guide the Seaport Museum to safe waters. “We’re working to see if we can find another entity,” Kate D. Levin, the department’s commissioner, told the Times. If nobody comes to the institution’s rescue, it will fall into the hands of the attorney general of New York State.
 

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Civilian furloughs to close Nautilus, submarine museum on Mondays
By Jennifer McDermott
Publication: theday.com
Published 06/20/2013 12:00 AM

Groton — The Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Library and Museum will be closed on Mondays because of the furloughs for civilians who work for the Department of Defense.

The Defense Department is furloughing most of its civilian personnel because automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, took effect March 1. Under the current plan, employees have to take one day off each week for 11 weeks, from July 8 through the end of the fiscal year.

The Nautilus and the museum will close on Mondays, in addition to its routine closures on Tuesdays, from the week of July 8 until further notice, the Navy said Thursday. 

All of the museums that fall within the Naval History and Heritage Command are closing for a day each week because of the furloughs.

 

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Former Coast Guard cutter Storis up for auction after Juneau museum efforts fail
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Updated: June 17, 2013 - 3:49 pm

 KODIAK, Alaska — The federal government is putting a former Coast Guard cutter up for auction after efforts to send it to a museum in Juneau failed.

The cutter Storis was listed for auction last week on the General Services Commission website at an opening bid of $60,000, KMXT reported (http://is.gd/dZIdmj ).

"Well I think we had been hoping to be able preserve the Storis, and find it a place specifically in the museum in Juneau," said Heather Handyside, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. "However, as you probably know, it does take a little bit of money to maintain these older, historical vessels, and so, unfortunately, we weren't able to keep it and it's being auctioned off."

 Joe Geldhof, the secretary for the Storis Museum in Juneau, said he and others were surprised when the ship showed up on the auction site. The hope was to have the Storis taken to the museum in Juneau where it was homeported for 10 years during the 1940s and 1950s.

 Besides it being an artifact for the museum, Geldhof told the Kodiak radio station it could have been used to train young mariners.

 "What we had hoped when we heard about this not too long ago is that we'd be able to obtain the vessel for training purposes through the Sea Cadets program run by the Navy League of the United States. And the GSA wasn't willing to work with us and they just wanted to put it out to bid," he said.

Now that it appears the museum won't get the ship, Geldhof said the next step is to save it from the scrap yard — though that means the ship won't be retired in Juneau.

"Our plan at this point is to work with some folks in Ohio and out in the Midwest, to acquire the Storis. That means it may wind up in Toledo where the ship was built, but we are still trying to save the Storis and preserve a ship that spent most of its career in Alaska, but started out in Ohio," he said.

"Frankly, we are scrambling at this point to preserve a ship that was enormously important to Alaska's maritime history and to the maritime history of the United States."

The cutter saw service in World War II and spent much of the time after the war patrolling Alaska waters. Besides calling Juneau home for about a decade, it was also homeported in Kodiak for 50 years. It was decommissioned in 2007.
 

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USS Constellation to get new $4.2M visitors center
May 1, 2013
Baltimore Business Journal

Nearly 15 years after the USS Constellation was restored, the historic ship at the Inner Harbor is getting a new visitors center to match.

Construction on the new USS Constellation Education and Heritage Center will begin Oct. 1 and is expected to wrap up in time for a June 2014 grand opening.

When it is complete the building’s footprint on Pier 1 won’t be too different from the existing visitors center. At 4,800 square feet, it will be slightly narrower and longer with more space inside dedicated to educational exhibits. The $4.2 million center will have a more modern feel, and it will also be raised above the flood plane to prevent water damage.

Historic Ships in Baltimore, the nonprofit that oversees the Constellation and several other ships, currently has its offices at the visitors center, but they plan to relocate to make room for additional exhibit space. The museum portion will cover all ships that have been named Constellation and help set the stage for visitors’ experience aboard the Civil War vessel.

During construction the Constellation will remain open at the Inner Harbor’s west wall. The ship will return to Pier 1 in time for next year’s Star-Spangled Spectacular in September, concluding the War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations.

Chris Rowsom, executive director of Historic Ships in Baltimore, said a new visitors center has been a long time coming for the Constellation. The project is something the organization had planned to construct ever since the Constellation was restored in the late 1990s, he said.

The center is being funded by a combination of city, state, federal and private money from organizations including the Baltimore Development Corp., the Charles T. Bauer Foundation, Maryland Historical Trust and Baltimore National Heritage Area. Partners on the project include RK&K Engineers, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

 

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Mount Pleasant — Anchored in pluff mud, the 70-year-old aircraft carrier Yorktown poses no imminent environmental threats to the public or Charleston Harbor, a study released Wednesday shows.

Shaw Environmental Inc. told Patriots Point's board of directors the World War II-era ship — moored as a museum ship since 1975 — will have to be cleaned extensively before structural repairs can take place. The estimated cost is $4.4 million and will take about six months.

A worker with Shaw Environmental Inc. of Atlanta takes oils and water level measurements on the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. A worker with Shaw Environmental Inc. of Atlanta takes oils and water level measurements on the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point.

The aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point will need to be cleaned up at a cost of about $4.4 million before it can be repaired, but it poses no imminent environmental threat. It could take decades to refurbish the World War II-era ship.

Patriots Point officials plan to apply for federal funding to help with the cleanup, and they hailed the report as good news.

“There are no leaks, no threats to the harbor and the integrity of the vessel is in good shape,” board Chairman Ray Chandler said. “All of these things bode well.”

Board member Eddie Taylor pointed out that the report shows no emergency situation, giving Patriots Point time to secure funding and perform cleanup ahead of much- needed structural repairs.

“The great news is the people who visit or stay on the boat are in no danger,” said Mac Burdette, Patriots Point executive director.

The Atlanta-based firm found 129 tanks with about 160,000 gallons of petroleum residue and 1.6 million gallons of onboard contaminated water.

Just two of 21 refrigeration units are charged, and all firefighting systems were found to be drained or air-gapped.

Shaw also found varying levels of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyl compounds, or PCBs, in 40 out of 71 samples it took around the ship.

Most hydraulic systems were found to be empty, and all radiological devices are low-level and pose no risk to anyone, the firm said in the report.

Any radiological devices could be put in containers and disposed of in a low-level facility.

To remove fluids, Kenyon recommended pumping and separating petroleum products and affected waters.

State-owned Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum is staring at an estimated $81 million price tag to upgrade the aging vessel that has served as the centerpiece attraction for tourists since it was decommissioned and brought to Charleston Harbor 38 years ago.

The environmental assessment of the ship comes before a structural analysis is conducted to determine the ship's overall condition.

It could take decades to refurbish the ship, since Patriots Point's annual income is about $9.5 million.

PCBs

Shaw Environmental took 71 samples to check for cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyl compounds, or PCBs.

Of those, 23 contained more than 50 parts per million of the toxins. Anything above that level has to be incinerated. Seventeen samples had less than that amount, meaning those can be treated and sent to a landfill.

Any PCBs will have to be pumped or placed into small drums and removed, if possible. If they cannot be removed because of the ship's layout, Shaw recommends encapsulating them.

The most likely sources of the PCBs were fire retardants sprayed throughout the Yorktown decades ago.

By the numbers

Yorktown at Patriots Point:

70 Years old
38 Years at Patriots Point
$4.4 million Estimated environmental cleanup cost
509 Number of tanks surveyed
129 Number of tanks contaminated
160,000 Number of gallons of petroleum residue
1.6 million Number of gallons of affected water
$81 million Estimated overhaul cost of entire ship

 

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CG Cutter Services Seasonal Aids to Navigation
Apr 26, 2013, Military.com
U.S. Coast Guard| by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Kneen

As the bitter winter temperatures come to an end and the ice that frosts the Hudson River begins to melt, preparations for the spring and summer months are in full effect as Coast Guard Cutter Katherine Walker makes its way north towards Albany, N.Y.
 
The Katherine Walker is a 175-foot buoy tender, homeported in Bayonne, N.J. Its major mission includes the servicing of aids to navigation throughout New York Harbor, Western Long Island Sound, the Hudson and East Rivers, as well as other waters along the Connecticut, New York and New Jersey coastlines.

During a five-day patrol up the Hudson River, the ship serviced 18 seasonal aids to navigation, the last of 53 buoys that the crew restores every spring. The ice buoys were built for rough weather and ice conditions. The Katherine Walker crew replaced these winter aids to navigation with standard buoys that provide better visibility with a greater radar cross-section crucial to mariners. The ice buoys are put in place at the
end of fall and are replaced by the standard buoys at the beginning of spring.
 
“Commerce on the river operates year round and depends on our aids to navigate safely,” said Lt. Adam G. Leggett, commanding officer of the Katherine Walker. “However the standard buoy hulls can be crushed by the ice, which would cause them to sink and in order to continue to safely mark the channel we must put in the ice hardened hulls. Its hard work, but its our duty to the mariner.”
 
The crew of Katherine Walker operates proudly and professionally during the cold working hours on the buoy deck and below in the engine room, keeping the cutter transiting safely. Although servicing more than 300 floating aids to navigation in and around the New York harbor remains the main mission for the crew of the Katherine Walker, crewmembers find volunteer work in between can be beneficial within the marine partnerships throughout the same region.

During their latest patrol, they had the pleasure in assisting the crew of the USS Slater, the last destroyer escort in America, with several restoration projects before it opens for tours in April.
 
“It was an excellent opportunity to connect with our maritime heritage working alongside a dedicated group of veterans and enthusiasts trying to preserve such an incredible piece of U.S. and Coast Guard history,” said Leggett. “As we learned during our time aboard, 13 of these ships were manned by Coast Guard crews in WWII.”
 
Upon their arrival to Albany, the crew moored outboard of Slater in Rensselaer, N.Y., where the Slater is temporarily moored during colder months to prevent ice build up at its home pier on Albany’s waterfront. The crew of Katherine Walker worked on several projects aboard Slater, putting their nautical skill sets to apt use, from sanding and caulking the ship’s whaleboat, to chipping and painting in the engine room bilge, to splicing line and polishing the galley.
 
Katherine Walker holds a crew of 24 personnel. During their patrols, time away from family is never easy, but this crew makes the best of it. During the last night of their patrol on the Hudson River, the crew held an Easter Egg Hunt. Plastic eggs filled with prizes ranging from free movie tickets to a 24-hour liberty pass were hidden throughout the ship.

“Keeping the crews morale up is an important job, among the main mission,” said Chief Petty Officer David M. Acosta, 1st Lieutenant of the Katherine Walker. “I tell my crew to keep their eyes on the prize, complete the work and go home safely, and return to do it again another day.”
 
The Katherine Walker was commissioned in 1996, the second 175-foot, Keeper-class buoy tenders built and commissioned for the Coast Guard. The cutter was named after keeper Katherine Walker, the keeper of Robbins Reef Light in New York Harbor. Walker was the keeper of the light from 1895 to1919 when she retired. Her efforts at the lighthouse resulted in the rescue of 50 sailors from shipwrecks. Walker passed away at age 83 on February 5th, 1931. The crew visits her gravesite, located on Staten Island, N.Y., before most patrols, to pay their respects, bring her fresh flowers and leave with the hope that she’ll bring them a safe return home.

 

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Quebec museum saves Cold-War submarine from the scrap heap
By Pat Brennan, For Postmedia News
April 24, 2013

RIMOUSKI, Que. – Just one step inside a unique museum at this St. Lawrence River port and that's enough for some visitors.

That first step inside gives an immediate impression of what this museum is all about and that’s enough to make some people back out. Other visitors come with a toothbrush, their jammies and the excitement of staying overnight.

Both types of visitors learn what it is like to live and work in a submarine.

HMCS Onondaga patrolled below the North Atlantic for 36 years for the Canadian Navy and there was no life like it for the 70-man crew.

Now the general public can come aboard and experience that same life below the waves. The sub no longer dives below the surface. It has been hauled up on the south shore of The St. Lawrence River. But once those watertight doors are closed, you wouldn’t know the difference.

The Canadian Navy retired Onondaga in 2000 and planned to cut the sub into a half dozen pieces in Halifax, truck it up to Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum and stitch it back together again. The navy’s bean counters said that was too expensive and instead the submarine was to be sold for $60,000 as scrap metal.

But the people who operate a maritime museum in Rimouski decided one of the few Canadian vessels remaining from the Cold War should not end up as razor blades or subway rails.

They managed to put together nearly $5 million to buy the sub and tow it to Rimouski. It was one of the most harrowing voyages this sub ever made. It had to ride out several late fall storms, which in its active days it would simply duck under.

The last 50 metres were the most dangerous. It rolled on its side as it road on a makeshift dolly up onto the beach.

But Rimouski seafarers have been handling ships since Champlain sailed by in 1608 and they were able to get Onondaga righted and secure its permanent berth.

Volunteers spent a cold winter inside the sub making it ship shape to open as Canada’s only submarine museum.

Visitors can wander through the vessel in 45 minutes escorted by dosun Alberic Gallant, who looks exactly what you’d expect a submariner to look like – but he’s an actor.

Or you can get a deeper impression of what it is like at sea in a sub by spending a night aboard. The overnight visitors duplicate the workday of a submariner. They track surface ships by radar and sonar, they peer through the telescope at passing ships, or just check on their car in the parking lot.

One of the exercises includes learning how to escape a sub that is sitting incapacitated on the bottom – in water less than 1,000 feet deep. Visitors wrestle their way into a survival suit, but they’re not required to climb into a tight chamber, inflate their suit with air, flood the chamber and then shoot up like a helium balloon to the surface.

Maurice Allard has done that during his 17 years as a Canadian Navy submariner, including six years on the Onondaga. Fortunately, he only had to do it in training sessions in Hawaii and in the Mediterranean.

Allard helped bring his former sub to Rimouski, worked on its restoration and he sits on the board of directors of the Pointe-au-Pere Maritime Museum.

He can tell stories about sitting quietly below Soviet spy ships stationed off the coast of Northern Ireland and going without hot food to avoid making any noise.

Sailors with claustrophobia didn’t go to sea in subs and visitors with the same affliction likely won’t roam through this museum. If you choose to stay overnight all the conversation and instructions are in French – plus, try to get a bunk amidst the torpedoes in the forward torpedo room. It’s the most spacious area in the vessel.

The Onondaga is the latest addition to Rimouski’s Pointe-au-Pere Maritime Museum.

Canada’s greatest marine tragedy – the sinking of the Empress of Ireland - is the principal story at the museum.

A surprising few Canadians know about the Empress of Ireland, which sank near Rimouski in 1914 with the loss of 1,014 lives. The ocean liner, owned by Canadian Pacific Steamships, had 1,477 passengers and crew on board as it proceeded down the St. Lawrence through dense fog on its way to England from Quebec City. Many of the passengers were members of the Salvation Army heading to England for an international conference.

The passenger ship was struck amidships at 2 a.m. by the up-bound Norwegian coal ship SS. Storstad. Within 15 minutes The Empress plunged to the river bottom.

Because it went down in relatively shallow waters, tons of artifacts have been recovered from the vessel. They are on display, along with the vessel’s life story, at the Empress of Ireland Museum at Pointe-au-Pere.

The sinking of the Empress of Ireland was somewhat overlooked in history because the Titanic went down two years earlier with the loss of 1,517 souls. And World War 1 broke out four months after the Empress sank.

The museum’s principal building depicts a sinking ocean liner and was designed by Rimouski architect Richard Goulet

One of Canada’s tallest lighthouses is the third segment of the maritime museum.

The rare octagonal-shaped lighthouse was built in 1909. Its light weighs 600 pounds and you can climb the 128 stops to the top for a spectacular view of the mighty St. Lawrence.

 

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Study boosts Kitty Hawk
A new report indicates an aircraft carrier downtown could be a tourist draw
Apr. 23, 2013, Pensacola News Journal

An improbable campaign to moor the giant retired aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk near downtown Pensacola as a tourist attraction gained some credibility on Tuesday.

The proposed acquisition and display of the huge ship could lead to an economic impact of up to $18 million a year, according to a new study by the University of West Florida’s Haas Center.

“The USS Kitty Hawk has the potential to become an integral part of the Pensacola experience, bringing an additional attraction to the region along with the attendant visitors,” researcher Rod Lewis determined.

Mark Taylor, the volunteer leader of a nonprofit to bring the carrier from its dock in Bremerton, Wash., hailed the $20,000 study to which he contributed $3,000.

“It’s everything I could have asked for,” he said. “What needs to happen now that we know this is a good project is to get a committee together and apply to the Navy to become the permanent home for the Kitty Hawk.”

Pensacola businessman and Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer contributed $10,000 for the study, Taylor said.

Other contributors included Julian MacQueen, owner of Gulf Breeze-based Innisfree Hotels, who gave $1,000, and Jim Cronley, a partner in the Terhaar & Cronley general contracting firm, who also gave $1,000.

The study asserted that tourism interest generated by the carrier would generate “substantial local revenues for hoteliers, restaurateurs and the broader Escambia economy.”

Data compiled by the study estimated the annual total economic impact of the aircraft carrier in the range of $8 million a year to a bit more than $18 million.

Lewis, executive director of the Haas Center, which specializes in business and economic research, said of his two-month study: “To me it says that the project has potential, that it is a credible idea.”

However, the study also estimated that refurbishment of the ship could cost $21 million, so it would take several years to recoup the original investment.

Taylor is the owner of a Pensacola house insurance inspection company, a Republican candidate for the vacant Florida House of Representatives in District 2, and a member of the Community Maritime Park Associates board that governs the park.

He acknowledged that potential funding sources for the project aren’t clearly established.

He has mentioned his goal of obtaining state tourism dollars, RESTORE Act disbursements and private donations.

 

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State gets ‘retired’ Navy submarine
By Express News Service - CHENNAI
11th April 2013 08:42 AM

INS Vagli, the oldest operational submarine of the Indian Navy, was handed over to the State government on Wednesday to be converted into a maritime museum that will be established at Mamallapuram.

Vagli, decommissioned in Visakhapatnam on December 2010, arrived here on March 25. It was handed over to State Finance Minister O Paneerselvam and Tourism Minister P Chendur Pandian by Vice-Admiral Anil K Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.

The submarine is likely to be stationed in harbour till September before being transferred for installation on about 30 acres of land abutting the beach near the Shore Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site. Chopra said that the submarine was towed to Chennai port free of cost. Paneerselvam thanked the vice admiral and sought his help in installing the submarine on at the selected site.

The ship, which will be converted into a museum, will have food courts, audio-visual studio, souvenir shops and an aquarium. It will be planned and executed in a phased manner using the ‘build-own-operate-transfer’ model.

The Vagli, a Type 641B Foxtrot-class submarine, was commissioned by then Lieutenant Commander Lalit Talwar on August 10, 1974 at Riga, Latvia, in the erstwhile Soviet Union. It had completed 36 years of dedicated service under 23 commanding officers.

 

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Mare Island group teams up with competitor to save USS Olympia warship
By Sarah Rohrs, Times-Herald staff writer
4/11/2013 01:03:56 AM PDT

Under the premise that two heads are better than one, the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation has teamed up with a group on the East Coast to raise money to save the USS Olympia.

The Olympia is a Spanish American warship in danger of being scrapped. The ship is now at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, which solicited requests from other groups that might want the ship.

Both the Mare Island foundation and the South Carolina Olympia Committee (SCOC) would like to acquire the ship, but have agreed to work together to raise awareness and money to ensure it has a bright future.

Mare Island foundation member Dennis Kelly said that while the two groups are competing they can team up to raise national awareness about the need to save the historic ship.

"The stories have not been picked up by the national press. It's our hope (the story) that two competitors on opposite coasts banding together will resonate with the public more than individual efforts going alone," Kelly said.

Both groups need to raise significant funds to acquire the one-of-a-kind historic steel cruiser, the world's oldest surviving steel-hulled warship. It was made famous for her role as Admiral Dewey's flagship in the 1898 Spanish-American War.

Prior to fighting in that battle, the ship underwent an overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

The Mare Island foundation would like to secure the ship and place it in Dry Dock No.1 on the Mare Island waterfront

"I think (the Olympia) is wired for us from the standpoint that we are the only ones with a drydock and we're located in the San Francisco Bay Area. We've got a historic connection to the ship," Kelly said. "We've got everything lined up. What we don't have is the money."

The Mare Island group and the South Carolina organization are the two remaining applicants competing for the ship.

The South Carolina group plans to display the ship out of water on a floating drydock/exhibit platform berthed in the Town of Port Royal.

Kelly said both groups remain committed to their individual efforts to obtain the ship, butbelieve it is best to band together for the greater concern of saving the ship for future generations.

 

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Would you pay $500 to fire these guns?
Matthew Van Dongen, Hamilton Spectator
Tue Apr 09 2013

Well-heeled history buffs will be able to pay to fire a gun or sound a
siren aboard the HMCS Haida, under proposed new fees for historic sites.


But volunteers dedicated to the famed Second World War battleship worry
the changes could undermine their ability to fundraise.

Following a five-year freeze, Parks Canada is proposing to raise and
create new fees for national parks and historic sites. The move comes
amid federal budget cuts and a report warning one-third of all “cultural
assets” are in poor shape.

In Hamilton, proposals include a $500 charge to sound a horn or fire a
dual four-inch turret gun on the Haida, the last Tribal class destroyer
in the world, which Parks Canada runs as a national historic site on the
harbour.

The Friends of HMCS Haida depend on those twin attractions — currently
free, but rare — to lure new donors, said president Ken Lloyd. If
fee-based access replaces the services provided by the group, “we’ll
have to completely rethink our fundraising,” he said.

Right now, the ship’s forward gun usually only booms for special events,
such as the 2009 visit of Prince Charles, and historical celebrations.

Or, you can buy a private shooting lesson with a $1,000 lifetime Friends
membership.

“It’s a way to say thank you, an incentive for donations,” Lloyd said.

Sounding the sirenete — a steam-powered horn the Friends bought for
$12,000 and donated to the ship — has also been a privilege of
membership. Those member donations form a significant part of the
group’s $30,000 budget, he said.

Lloyd said he understands the fiscal challenges faced by Parks Canada
and stressed his group is involved in ongoing and “very convivial” talks
with federal officials.

“Many of our volunteers actually served on the ship. I think (parks
officials) understand the importance of our contributions to the ongoing
story of the Haida,” he said, noting Friends members are involved in
everything from ship maintenance to school programs.

Although the proposed 2013 fees were posted online to solicit public
feedback, Parks Canada has refused interview requests on the topic from
The Spectator over three days.

Jarred Picher, the manager for national historic sites in southwestern
Ontario, said via email the user fees are not meant to replace “the
valuable contributions made by local volunteer groups.”

He said the fees would support new programming such as corporate events
hosted on the ship, with a “menu of activities” that includes firing the
forward gun.

It remains unclear who else would be eligible to pay to fire a gun or
sound a siren, or how often.

“If you want friendly neighbours, you wouldn’t want to do it every day.
It’s loud,” said Margaret Mathers, who estimated the sirenete sounds
once or twice a week in summer.

Mathers said the horn perched atop the ship now requires a modern air
compressor and “an experienced hand” to sound. Frequent use could add to
maintenance costs, she added.

Lloyd said he hopes Friends donors will be exempt from fees associated
with the gun, horn and on-board gatherings.

“Our volunteers will always be there for Parks and do whatever they’re
allowed to do,” he said.

Picher said some of the proposed fees and new programming, if approved
by the federal government, could be introduced later this year. The
Haida opens to visitors in late May.

The proposed new fees, available on the Parks Canada website, range from
$25 for special access tours to $2,500 for a full-day rental of the
entire vessel.

 

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Efforts to bring ship to Green Bay as floating museum in the works
Would be moored next to the Neville Public Museum
Published : Monday, 08 Apr 2013, 1:52 PM CDT
Bill Miston, FOX 11 News

GREEN BAY - The Neville Public Museum is once again looking to expand in
the water. The facility is looking to bring the first USS Green Bay to
the area, and turn it into a floating museum. However, it might be
easier said than done.

"It was a fairly unusual ship for the time,” said Tom Donaldson in a
phone interview with FOX 11. “Besides two V12 diesel engines for
propulsion, it also had a jet engine."

Donaldson should know; he was an engineer aboard the USS Green Bay.

Part of the crew that came to Wisconsin to pick up the 165 foot motor
gunboat in 1969 from the now out of business Peterson Builders in
Sturgeon Bay, he even spent a little time at a Packers practice.

"And they gave us a Packers flag, which we flew on the ship the entire
time," said Donaldson, who lives in Brookings, Oregon.

But for the past 20 years, the Greek flag has flown on the ship. But the
hope of some is for that to change.

The Neville Public Museum is in the beginning stages of renewed efforts
to bring the ship, currently in use by the Greek navy, to Green Bay as a
floating museum.

"We're engaged in the very early part of the process to figure out, is
it feasible to bring the ship home?" explained Rolf Johnson, director of
the Neville.

“Have you heard concerns about the mooring of a ship here, permanently?"
I asked Johnson.

"I have not heard – quite candidly – I haven't heard any concerns about
trying to get a museum ship," he replied.

Not the first time the acquisition has been explored, Johnson says the
ship would tie in nicely with downtown waterfront development; anchoring
the plans for a cultural campus.

But just physically getting the ship to Green Bay would be a cost – one
Johnson estimates to be about $1 million; not including the unknowns of
how the Neville would acquire the active vessel (be it through a
purchase or vessel trade), the cost of a restoration and then routine
maintenance and programming.

And it's still a tentative deal, as the Neville doesn't even know if the
ship is available.

But Johnson says finding gathering interested parties and stake holders
now could make the effort easier if the USS Green Bay becomes available.

"We want to make sure we are first in line," said Johnson, adding that
the future of the museum is not dependent on whether it can get its
hands on the city’s namesake ship.

Johnson says if everything goes in the museum's favor, the hope is to
have the ship as a part of the museum's 2015 centennial.

"I think it'd be fantastic if it could be turned into a museum piece,
where people could look at it and crawl all over it,” said Donaldson,
saying that he would travel to Green Bay to see his old ship again. “But
I think it's even better that it's still in service."

And Donaldson says he wouldn't be surprised if the Greeks kept her.

 

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Battleship New Jersey visitors offered new interactive experience
Written by Carol Comegno Gannett/The (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post
April 5, 2013
CAMDEN, N.J. —A newly added tour aboard the retired battleship New Jersey promises to be an action-packed experience for visitors.

Now visitors will be able to execute some of the same tasks crews did when loading and firing the most powerful

naval guns ever built by the U.S.The Turret II Experience interactive tour begins Sunday and initially will be offered only on Sundays at the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial on the Camden Waterfront.

During a 90-minute guided tour on the museum ship, a maximum of 15 visitors will climb inside the five decks of Gun Turret II on the foredeck. It is one of three armored turrets whose combined nine guns are 16 inches in diameter and 66 feet long with a range of more than 20 miles.

“There is nothing like this being offered on any other historic ship in the world,” museum curator Jason Hall said of the new tour on the Iowa-class battleship —the largest class of Navy battleship built during World War II and the most decorated.

“We are trying to be as authentic as possible and allow our visitors to simulate what 77 crew members once did as a team and with ballet precision inside the turret.”

Visitors can perform some of the turret crew tasks from start to finish.

The first step is a climb five decks down to load dummy powder bags that have the same canister-shaped appearance as the real ones but minus the black powder inside.

In a practice session for tour guide training Thursday, trainee and Rutgers-Camden student

William Roulette lifted one of the bags into the brass drum on a hoist used to raise them up to the turret level on the main deck for loading into the gun breech and barrel behind ammunition shells the Navy calls “projectiles.” It took six bags to fire a shell from the barrel.Above the powder deck, tour guide Arlene Baker of Haddon Township pulled a brass lever that hoisted upward a bullet-shaped, 5-foot high, 16-inch/50 caliber dummy shell, which in operation would end up inside the gun barrel and in front of the powder bags. Real shells ranged from 1,900 pounds for shore bombardment to armor-piercing 2,700-pounders that fired at ships.

“It’s pretty exciting and people, especially children, learn best by doing,” said Baker, a retired teacher.

Heading up to the gun plot deck inside the turret, guide George MacCulloch, a 79-year-old Navy veteran from Audubon, put information into the ship’s analog computer, which set firing coordinates for positioning of the guns to strike a target.

Afterward, he hit a brass trigger that sounded a salvo to alert crew to imminent firing and then pulled another trigger to fire the weapons. The trigger is coordinated with a real firing visitors can view in color on a TV monitor as they also hear the firing booms and feel the vibration in the deck floor.

“I think this is the most dramatic tour of any I’ve seen at any museum,” said MacCulloch, who served on the New Jersey in 1955 as a naval reservist and third-class gunner’s mate and who remembered the vibration throughout the ship when the 16-inch guns fired.

Proceeding topside to the main deck, entering the turret gun house and then standing behind a loaded gun barrel, tour guide Jessie Noda of Mullica Hill pushed a salvo button that would first alert the crew the shells were ready to be fired.

Philip Rowan, executive director of the museum, said it took more than two years and nearly $90,000 to convert the turret into a tour area and to secure state and Navy approvals, including safety permits from the state Department of Community Affairs.

He said the ship hired part-time guides —many from its museum volunteer staff —for what he termed a “premium tour.”

The tour costs $29.95 and reservations may be made at the museum website, battleshipnewjersey.org; at the admission gate, depending on availability; or by calling (866) 877-6262, ext. 108
.

 

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USS Edson group targets mid-April to move destroyer to permanent Saginaw River dock site
By MacKenzie Burger | mburger@mlive.com
April 05, 2013 at 2:18 PM
BANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI —” The retired Navy destroyer USS Edson spent along winter moored at a temporary dock near the mouth of the Saginaw River.

Now, the group making the ship into a floating museum hopes to move the Edson by mid-April to its permanent dock site on the river near the Independence Bridge boat launch.

The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum postponed relocating the destroyer last fall as work continued on the permanent dock site.

"Installing the plate anchors is all that is left," said Mike Kegley, the museum's president. "It should be done in a week or so. Two will go onshore and two will go in the river." Tugboats will tow the Edson to its new location. The ship does not run on its own power anymore.

Kegley said the museum is eager to move the ship so that it can host events on the vessel this summer and claim a number of artifacts from the USS Edson's previous caretakers that belong onboard.

New York City's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, where the ship previously served as a floating museum, can't release ship artifacts kept in storage to the museum until the vessel is at its permanent site, Kegley said.

"We are waiting on a lot of artifacts, including the ship's bell, that we would like to have," Kegley said.

A means to power the ship is another reason the museum hopes to move as soon as possible. Generators currently supply limited power to the vessel, but Kegley said that electrical hookup at the permanent site is necessary to fully light the ship for events.

"In June, we have a Destroyer Escort Sailors Association event, in July the Edson Association wants to have a reunion, and in September a couple wants to get married on the ship," Kegley said.

Restoration on the USS Edson is an ongoing effort. Kegley said museum members and volunteers will continue painting the decks once the temperature remains above 45 degrees.

When it comes to sprucing up the landscaping at the new location, the museum is getting a helping hand, said Melissa Einger, Dow Chemical corporate volunteer manager.

"Our new Bay County Volunteer Council is made up of Dow employees that live in Bay County, so we asked the council to choose a local project that could benefit from $15,000 worth of services," Einger said. "The employees chose the USS Edson."

Einger said she plans to discuss logistics of the volunteer service with museum officials next week. The service needs to be completed in 2013, but a date has not yet been scheduled for 50-100 Dow Chemical employees to visit the site and aid in beautification efforts.

"It's great that they are going to come out and lend a hand," Kegley said. "Every bit helps, and we really appreciate it."

The museum is continuing its own fundraising efforts to cover costs associated with the vessel. A spaghetti fundraiser with raffles and prizes to benefit the USS Edson is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at Coonan's Irish Pub, 1004 Johnson St. in Bay City.

Tickets can be pre-ordered by contacting the museum at 989-686-3946. Adult tickets cost $10, children's tickets cost $8 and children under five are free. Those interested in touring the ship can schedule an appointment by calling the museum at the same number.

 

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Historic NYC fireboat becoming Greenport museum
March 27, 2013 by DAVID M. SCHWARTZ
Newsday

The boat is flecked with rust and virtually unchanged from the day it was launched in 1938. Its most recent purchase price: $250.

But it is rich in history -- so much so that it is a National Historic Landmark -- and last month it chugged into Greenport harbor to assume a new role as a floating museum.

The aptly named Fire Fighter was a fireboat for the FDNY, capable of pumping 20,000 gallons of seawater a minute. A veteran of New York City waterway fires and the Sept. 11 terror attacks, when it and two other FDNY fireboats supplied water to lower Manhattan, the Fire Fighter was retired from active duty in 2010.

The boat is maritime grandeur to its current owners -- a handful of volunteers, led by fireboat museum president Charlie Ritchie of upstate Cold Spring, who bought the boat from the city after years of planning. They are working -- mostly on weekends at a dock in the Mitchell Park Marina -- to restore the boat to its former glory. Offers of help will be accepted.

The Fire Fighter arrived in Greenport on Feb. 10 under its own power, after leaving its home in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

"It's a piece of American history, of New York City history," said Fireboat Fire Fighters Museum vice president Alan Tlusty, 57, of West Milford, N.J.

Other vessels from the era, he said, "are dead. Here, things are working. It's ready to be used. It's of that era -- the World War II era, the Greatest Generation. When the engines are running, people are turning valves, you're there."

"And it's warm," said Mike Hibbard, 30, of Buffalo, the museum's secretary and historian. "It's alive. You can feel the engine, like a heartbeat."

The core group of museum volunteers from the tri-state area had been restoring another ship at Pier 40 in Manhattan when they became friendly with some city firefighters stationed on the dock. The firefighters gave them a heads-up that the Fire Fighter was going to be decommissioned.

The final paperwork, giving title to Ritchie and his group, was signed in October.

The search for an affordable place to dock a 134-foot boat eventually led them to Greenport, after a suggestion by a city firefighter who lived on the East End. In December, the group signed a six-month lease at $200 a month.

Damon Campagna, executive director of the New York City Fire Museum, said he was glad the boat has found a home.

"We all would've loved to have kept it in New York City," he said. But maintenance costs were a concern.

Ritchie's group also makes it clear they need money. The lease is up in June, when they hope to move to another Greenport dock.

Their love for the boat is palpable.

"It brings out the 12-year-old boy in you," Tlusty said.

So, did they fire off the water nozzles on deck? Hibbard admits it was tempting. But . . .

"We were a little hesitant," he said. "If the engines run well, let's
not push our luck."

The Fire Fighter

1938: Christened.

1942: Helped battle blaze aboard troop ship USS Lafayette, the converted liner SS Normandie, at Pier 88; nearly crushed when Lafayette capsized.

1973: Helped save 28 crew members and harbor pilot fighting fire after oil tanker SS Esso Brussels and container ship SS Sea Witch collided near Verrazano Bridge.

1974: Awarded American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy and Department of Commerce Gallant Ship Award for its service.

1989: Declared a National Historic Landmark.

2001: Responded to the 9/11 attacks.

2010: Retired.

 

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Battleship faces expensive repairs
March 26, 2013
By Jenny Callison, Greater Wilmington Business Journal

Serious and complex repairs are in the future for the Battleship USS North Carolina and officials for the attraction said Tuesday they are starting to look at how to pay for that work.

Based on the deterioration found in the ship’s starboard bow when it was repaired in 2011, said the battleship’s assistant director Chris Vargo, officials are certain that other portions of the ship’s “skin” will need to be repaired.

“We have a real need to assess the rest of the hull; we know there are portions that are paper thin,” Vargo said. “Ships are meant to be pulled out of the water every few years and inspected. The last time the North Carolina was pulled out was in the late 1940s, before it was mothballed.

Once the ship was towed into its site on the Cape Fear River, the matter of periodic exterior maintenance became more complicated, Vargo said, because gaining access to the entire hull is very difficult.

Vargo explained that taking the ship to a dry dock is not economically feasible, but that technology exists to make repairs in place. The battleship memorial’s officials are exploring the idea of building a cofferdam – a temporary impermeable enclosure - around the mud-mired ship and pumping out the water inside the enclosure, creating a dry work environment.

“This is proven technology,” he said. “The USS Alabama was repaired this way, and the lessons learned on that project would apply to this ship.”

It is too early to estimate the costs of such a project, let alone discuss how the money would be raised, Vargo said.

Vargo said battleship officials were currently working to assemble facts related to proposed repairs, with an eye to settling on a project design and possible cost scenarios. They are talking with the state's
Department of Cultural Resources to explore how the state might be able to help.

Meanwhile, other repairs are proceeding on the battleship. The teak deck, which was replaced in the early 2000s, is being refurbished and the mast repaired, allowing the ship’s radar to spin as it did when the ship was in service. More than 15,000 gallons of World War II-vintage bunker oil has been removed from tanks on the ship and sent to a company that will recycle it.

One short-term goal of the battleship is to prepare its main deck to accommodate groups of campers, such as scouts. That work is in progress, Vargo said.

“We have companies that come on board and have it in their heart to help the memorial,” he said of contractors. “They want to get things done, and done right.”

The USS North Carolina is one of the area's major attractions. According to numbers released by the USS North Carolina in early 2012 – the latest figures available – the historic ship logged a 13 percent increase in visitation during 2011. In December 2011 alone, almost 6,800 paid
visitors boarded the World War II battleship, making the month the site’s best December in 18 years.

 

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Historic Ship in Philly Short on Funds, Time
By JOANN LOVIGLIO Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA March 25, 2013 (AP)

The SS United States is sending out what may be its final distress call.

The 990-foot-long ship could be sold for scrap within two months unless the grassroots preservation group that's working to secure a home and purpose for it can raise $500,000 immediately, the group told The Associated Press. Talks are under way with developers and investors about the ship's long-term future, but without the emergency funding, its caretakers fear they will run out of money before a deal is inked.

The historic ocean liner carried princes and presidents across the Atlantic in the 1950s and 1960s but has spent decades patiently awaiting a savior at its berth on the Philadelphia waterfront.

"We've made progress on the fundraising side and the redevelopment side," said Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy and granddaughter of the ship's Philadelphia-born designer, William Francis Gibbs. "Our immediate goal is to buy some time."

The group has raised $1 million through fundraisers and a website, where contributors can sponsor a piece of the ship for $1 per square foot, but has received no public funding. What is desperately and immediately needed, they said, are donors with deep pockets and high profiles.

"Are we giving up on successfully redeveloping the ship as a self-sustaining entity? Absolutely not," said Dan McSweeney, head of the redevelopment efforts. "We continue to have active discussions with potential partners, we have ideas of potential sites for the ship, but we need more time to get it off the ground ... and we're running out of runway."

It costs $80,000 a month just for mooring, basic maintenance, insurance and security, he said.

The conservancy is exploring potential partnerships with four entities in Philadelphia and New York City to refashion the vessel as a stationary entertainment complex with 500,000 square feet of space for a hotel, theater, restaurants and shopping. The sluggish economy and other factors have slowed negotiations, McSweeney said.

As talks continue, he said, the hope is to convince corporate sponsors, influential politicians and prominent business leaders — are you listening, Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg? — to lend their political and financial capital to the effort.

"Any way you look at it, there is no downside to this project," McSweeney said. "It's an economic and community development project that's going to create jobs."

The SS United States carried more than 1 million passengers at record-breaking trans-Atlantic speeds over the course of 400 round trips from 1952 to 1969, among them President John F. Kennedy, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Salvador Dali and Elizabeth Taylor. A joint venture between the Navy and ship designer Gibbs & Cox, the luxury liner was made with hidden military might: It could have been converted in a single day to transport 14,000 troops for 10,000 miles before refueling.

After being decommissioned it changed hands multiple times, from the Navy and on through a series of restoration-minded investors.

It was towed from Virginia to Turkey to Ukraine, finally arriving in Philadelphia as a gutted hulk in 1996. Another succession of developers and a cruise lines failed to return the ship to service as retrofitting costs proved too great.

A local philanthropist's 11th-hour gift of $5.8 million allowed the SS United States Conservancy to save the ship from the scrapper and keep it berthed and maintained for 20 months. That was last November.

"It's an all hands on deck moment," Gibbs said. "Now is the time, there's a window. Within months it will close unless everyone assists in the effort."

 

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Decommissioned Navy sub named top 5 “boatel”
by Jacqueline Klimas

Though the Navy isn't known for its luxurious accommodations, the WWII submarine Silversides was just named one of the top five "boatels" by CNN Travel.

A "boatel," or boat and hotel, allows visitors to have the comforts of being on dry land and the adventure of spending the night at sea.

Silversides, a Gato-class sub that earned 12 battle stars during WWII, is in Muskegon, Mich. It was slated for the scrapyard, but was saved when a group of former Navy personnel towed it to the Muskegon Channel in 1987, CNN reported.

A night on the ship lets visitors "experience life as a World War II sailor -- without the combat," the CNN story said, though the sub saw plenty of the latter, sinking 23 Japanese vessels during its service.

The sub boasts 72 bunks and hosts a lot of Boy Scout troops and school groups, their website said. Overnight visitors also have the chance to visit the submarine's museum and tour the Silversides, as well as participate in workshops on Morse code, knot-tying and building remote controlled underwater robots, Michigan Live reported.
 

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Volunteer work aboard WWII destroyer impacts community, sailors Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Hickok
Posted: 03.24.2013 22:42

SHREVEPORT, La. - Sailors assigned to Navy Operational Support Center Shreveport teamed up with the staff of decommissioned destroyer Orleck (DDG 886) museum to help perform maintenance and renovations to the World War II destroyer in Lake Charles, La., March 16-17.

Over a dozen sailors from the NOSC volunteered at the ship completing multiple tasks including moving a barge alongside the ship to repair corrosion, accomplishing chipping, grinding, priming and painting projects throughout the ship and relocating more than 30 berthing racks.

According to Ron Williams, executive director for the Orleck Association, the work performed by the sailors impacts the local community by making the ship more accessible to visitors, increasing interest in Navy history and inspiring the next generation of sailors.

“You get a real appreciation for history, what has gone before,” said Williams. “People who don’t have a background in the military or the Navy or the other services learn something from our volunteers here.”

In 2010 the ship opened as a museum telling the Navy’s history and educating local Boy Scouts, Sea Cadets and school groups by allowing them to experience life onboard a ship.

“Boy Scout groups come out to visit and a lot of school groups come out,” said Williams. “One day, in about a three-hour period, we hosted about 250 of them.”

“The local Sea Cadet squadron, they come out here and train on the ship, firefighting training and things like that, but they also come out and do team building and leadership training,” he said.

“It’s really neat to see these kids come out and learn things and have a great time,” he said.

According to Williams the museum opened to the public in April 2011 at its temporary berth.

“Major fundraising is ongoing to build a dock on the lakefront next to Interstate Highway 10 where 60,000 vehicles a day will pass in view of the ship,” Williams said.

"We have tours during the day and laser tag in the evening,” he said. “When we get to the lakefront we will also have overnight stays like the other historic ships,"

"So it's going to be pretty much a 24-hour operation," he said.

“We are confident we can do it,” said Williams. “It’s going to be a major business, nonprofit business, for our town.”

“I personally think it’s going to be a big deal,” he said.

The history of the ship attracts visitors from the Southern Louisiana and Southeastern Texas area that have connections with the shipyard in Orange Texas where the Orleck was built.

“It’s been a great impact on telling the story of not only the period and the men who served on her, but also there’s a story about ship building because many of our family members worked at the shipyard
during World War II,” Williams said.

“I look at the Orleck as a national treasure, such a wonderful rich history,” he said. “We have family members that come aboard that say their father worked there or their mother worked there.”

During the visit, members of the Orleck museum staff and volunteers were present including Navy veterans who had served aboard the ship when it was active.

Electronic Technician 1st Class Timothy Butler, a volunteer from the NOSC, said, “Talking to the Navy veterans was more fulfilling than any History Channel documentary.”

“Hearing first hand accounts of everything from World War II beach landings to the blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis were major highlights of the weekend,” he said.

The Orleck was decommissioned in 1982 after 36 years of active duty with the U.S. Navy, entering service at the conclusion of World War II and serving in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

After decommissioning, the Orleck was sold to Turkey and continued service for another seventeen years, to include serving in the first Gulf War in 1990, until it was returned to the United States to be used
as a museum.

Machinist Mate 1st Class Ryan Case, a volunteer from the NOSC, sees potential in the Orleck as a future training opportunity.

“This is something NOSC Shreveport needs to start doing several times a year,” he said. “This helps sailors sharpen up on their skills.”

“The Orleck staff was grateful of the expertise the sailors brought, not to mention the training our sailors were able to receive while doing this work,” said Case.

“The trip was mutually beneficial,” said Butler. “We provided these guys with the kinds of man power they can use to accomplish some of their larger projects while exposing our sailors to some of the same kinds of work they can expect in the fleet.”

“We got a little bit of everything on this excursion, from Military Heritage to Safety on board a Navy vessel and reintroduction to coffin locker life,” he said. “It was hands down the best drill weekend experience of my Reserve career.”

Butler also agreed that returning to the Orleck would be beneficial.

“I think it would be immensely positive if there were some way to be able to turn this into a Remote Training Site for NOSC Shreveport,” he said.

The goal of visiting the Orleck was to provide skilled labor and expertise to help refurbish the museum, but in the end, the trip benefited the sailors as much as the museum.

“The civilians in charge were so thankful for our help and the sailors were so thankful for the opportunity,” said Butler. “It just seems like a match made in heaven.”

 

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Texas Tech students catalog artifacts aboard USS Stewart
by Chris Paschenko / The Daily News
khou.com
March 24, 2013 at 6:55 PM

GALVESTON — Within the hull of a World War II U.S. Navy vessel, a pair of graduate students from Lubbock are cataloging artifacts that one day might be displayed at a Galveston museum.

Sarah Faulkner and Lisa Simmons, both 24, are working aboard the USS Stewart, a destroyer escort, as part of their masters program in museum science at Texas Tech University.

The students’ goal is to provide more public access to the artifacts aboard the ship, which is open for public tours at the American Undersea Warfare Center at Seawolf Park.

 

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Giant bow doors on historic USS LST 393 in Muskegon repainted for first time since World War II
By Jonathan Stoner, Muskegon Chronicle
March 17, 2013 at 7:29 AM

MUSKEGON, MI -- The 14-foot-high bow doors of the USS LST 393 that Sherman tanks drove through in 1944 on D-Day were covered with dirt and rust.

That was a sore spot for the board of directors of the USS LST 393 Preservation Association, which has been operating a nationally known veterans museum out of the ship at the Mart Dock on Muskegon Lake since 2007.

Since the vessel is one of only two remaining landing ship tank boats in America, out of the more than 1,000 that were produced during the World War II, there is a lot of interest in preserving this storied piece of American history.

According to John Stephenson, the board president, the bow doors renovation project has been something the association has wanted to tackle for several years, but up until now they had a hard time getting it off the ground.

“Because it was so difficult, it’s one of the last things we undertook,” Stephenson explained.

One of the factors that held up the project was the height of the doors and how their location over the water makes them difficult to reach.

The other problem was the expense required to hire a professional company to safely remove the rust along with the original lead based paint and to repaint the doors with water-based paint.

“It’s an expensive project and because we are all volunteer based with very small revenues, it took us awhile to pull together a good crew – a licensed crew to do it right,” Stephenson said.

Ron Morzfeld, who serves on of the veteran museum’s board, said fundraising efforts to get the doors repainted had been under way for “four or five years,” but every time the association would get enough money saved up something else would need fixing on the ship.

Now that the group finally has raised enough funds and the rest of the boat is looking ship shape, the last thing to take care of is the bow door renovation project. Quality Maintenance Contractors of Muskegon was hard at work in mid-March to make the doors look like new.

The restoration operation is expected to be wrapped up by the end of March, well in advance of the season opening on April 27.

Stephenson is excited to show off the new paint job and for visitors both new and old alike to see the ship restored to a condition worthy of its military service heritage.

“We exist to pay tribute to the service of this historic ship and the service of all American veterans,” Stephenson said. “We are eager to welcome visitors through our newly restored and freshly painted bow entrance.”

 

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HSL 2552 war ship is refloated to new home
Lancashire Evening Post
Published on Friday 15 March 2013 08:46

A Second World War ship sunk below a canal for years will be restored to its former glory after being rescued by an enthusiast.

The huge former RAF air-sea rescue boat, the HSL 2552, had been stuck in the mud at Tarleton Lock on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and was steadily taking in water.

It was feared that any efforts to move the fragile ship, which dates back to 1942, could leave it damaged.

However, the boat’s owner, Paul Jollisse, called in Walton-le-Dale based expert Chris Miller, who specialises in industrial removal jobs.

Paul wanted to move the boat to the Wirral, where he lives near Chester, in order to restore the 17.5ft-wide craft.

Paul managed to pump enough water out of the vessel to have it towed to Preston Marina, where Chris’s firm managed to carefully lift the boat on a steel frame.

It was then placed on the back of a wagon for its onward journey to Ellesmere Port.

Paul, 42, plans to spend around 10 years lovingly refurbishing the ship when he retires from his job in computers.

He said: “I’d been looking for a boat like her for a while.

“I’m a wood worker, so it became apparent something of that type would be ideal. Not many of these boats survived and I found her at the bottom of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal a couple of years ago.

“I dismissed her as being too far gone but I came back to the idea. I want to repaint her in her war colours and refit her and then sail around the UK and the world with my wife.”

Paul is working with historians to find out more about the ship’s history. It was sold out of the RAF in 1958 and initially went to the Southport area.

Chris, who has worked in removals for 50 years, said he had rescued many ships but this task required extra skill.

He said: “This was a bit specialist because it’s a historic thing and it was very delicate.

“We had to handle it without doing any damage. Lots of people thought we would never get it lifted in one piece.”

 

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Holograms could 'beam up' on the USS Yorktown
By Stefanie Bainum
sbainum@abcnews4.com
March 15, 2013

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) – Patriots Point officials are set to unveil their new museum experience master plan for the USS Yorktown on Friday at 10 a.m. It's a plan that will steer the museum in a new direction for the next 10 to 15 years.

Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette says the master plan calls for a $4 million dollar investment in major technological improvements including adding holograms, sound effects, video screens and hands on elements to museum features.

"If we are going to capture new audiences we've got to bring the museum to the 21st century and that's what we intend to do," Mac Burdette says. "When the ship was brought here in 1975 there were probably 20 million WW II and Korean veterans still alive. Today there are probably less than two million so the audience has changed and if you are going to survive in the museum world you have to change with it."

The upgrades are expected to bring in an additional $1.2 million dollars in annual revenue with an additional 40,000 tickets sold each year.

Officials say new cutting-edge technology will be used to tell the stories of the ship that will appeal to a younger audience and not just military families.

"That is one of our goals, to connect with our visitors emotionally and personally, and it will be telling the stories of our sailors and airmen as part of the museum experience," Burdette says.

"It's more than just tons and tons of steel. This ship is the crew members and airmen who lived and worked and even died on this ship, so trying to make sure that we connect with the visitors in a very personal way is key to them understanding how important this is."

 

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HMS Belfast celebrates 75th anniversary
15 March 2013
British Forces News

HMS Belfast – the last Second World War Royal Navy ship in her class - celebrates her 75th anniversary this weekend.

The battle cruiser has been moored on the River Thames since 1971. In her day she was the largest and most powerful boat in the fleet and spent more than thirty years on active service.

Today veterans and VIPs returned to her to her decks to celebrate ahead of this weekend’s celebrations.

Phil Reed, Director HMS Belfast, said: “The 75th anniversary of HMS Belfast not only represents a milestone in her history, but also the achievement of those who have worked hard to preserve her decks and her legacy. HMS Belfast continues to impress and educate those who visit her and for over 40 years has certainly enriched the cultural experience of visitors to the area. This is an opportunity to both celebrate and to thank those who have contributed to the success of our magnificent museum.”

David McVeigh, representing Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd, said: “It is with great pleasure that Harland and Wolff have been able to contribute directly to this historic anniversary, by providing a replica builder’s plate, exactly as the original would have looked when she was first launched in Belfast, 75 years ago.”

FACTS:

Ordered by the Admiralty in 1936, built by Harland and Wolff and launched by Mrs Neville Chamberlain in1938.

The vessel is now a vibrant museum, positioned prominently on the River Thames, between Tower Bridge and London Bridge, where she has been moored for just over 40 years.

 

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Anger as 250K of public money is spent on warship revamp
11:10am Thursday 14th March 2013
By Rachel Masker, Southern Daily Echo

COUNCIL bosses have been criticised for spending 250,000 of taxpayers’ money restoring a First World War warship.

Conservative-run Hampshire County Council approved the money for a major revamp of HMS M33 in this year’s budget.

But a leading opposition councillor says the public money would be better spent on key services.

The row comes after the council made 100m savings over the last two years and axed 1,700 jobs.

The cuts included closing two libraries – at Stanmore in Winchester and North Baddesley – which are now run by volunteers.

The council bought the Monitor gunboat in 1990 when disgraced former Tory leader Freddie Emery-Wallis was at the helm.

It is one of only two British First World War ships still surviving and is now berthed in dry dock at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, near Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller praised the project on a recent visit.

But Councillor Peter Chegwyn, Liberal Democrat opposition spokesman for recreation and heritage, said: “I am surprised that the council, which is cutting libraries, museums and galleries, can yet find such a large amount to spend on a ship which is certainly of historical interest but surely there are more worthwhile projects.

“I would much rather see the money spent on restoring the book fund and keeping open small libraries and galleries which are under threat of closure.”

The council has refused to say how much it has already spent restoring the former rusting hulk to her original external 1915-1919 condition.

Built in 1915, HMS M33 saw active service in the Mediterranean throughout the First World War and provided support for the landing of Allied forces during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16.

After the war, she served a variety of purposes, including fuelling hulk, floating workshop and office.

In 1997, the county museum service placed her in dry docks for extensive works to stabilise hull corrosion. Other repairs have included new masts, internal structural works and making her hull watertight. Nearly all the fittings, anchors and gun shields were made from scratch.

The latest refit is a joint project with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. It will mean visitors can step on board the historic vessel and see inside. Currently the gunboat can only be viewed from the dockside.

Culture and recreation chief Councillor Keith Chapman, defended the expenditure.

He said: “The county council saved and restored the M33 warship, which is one of only two surviving First World War ships, and it will now become an even more popular public attraction as the nation remembers the 1914-18 war when it celebrates the centenary of that war.”

Cllr Chapman said the county was in discussion with National Museum of the Royal Navy to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for future works.

The ship refit comes after the council closed Stanmore Library in Waverley Way in 2012 to save 36,000 per year. The library moved to The Carroll Centre where it is now run by volunteers.

North Baddesley Library was also shut last year but reopened the following day as a community library run by the parish council and Friends of North Baddesley Library.

 

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LST needing help with funds for repair and staying open
Posted: Mar 14, 2013 6:00 PM EDT

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -Tours are once again underway on board LST 325.

The ship returned to Evansville from Texas after spending two months in dry dock for repairs and improvements.

That work comes at a high price close to $1 million.

Those operating the World War II ship say now is a good time to step in and help replenish their funds.

The most visual improvement to the LST is a new coat of paint.

Other work was done on the bottom of the ship.

These repairs were much needed and now the LST needs to build its bank account back up.

The operations manager for the LST says a federal grant covered about $200,000 worth of repairs, but the other $800,000 or so as well as the costs of general upkeep comes from donations from people joining the LST memorial and from money raised by the ship's annual cruise.

That money is extremely important to keep the ship operational.

The operations manager says they ended up using over two-thirds of the LST's account for these repairs.

He says there's still money in there for operating costs and a cushion, but the 70-year-old ship is going to need more work down the road, which is why they need to rebuild those funds.

"Something this old, a major repair, a lot of this stuff has to be custom made," says John Engstrom, the LST Operations Manager. "You can't run down to the auto parts store and get pieces and parts for the ship. I mean, they're very hard to come by."

It will be another 5-10 years before the LST will need to dry dock again.

 

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 U.S.S. Texas celebrates 99th birthday ahead of renovation project
by Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News
Posted on March 12, 2013 at 7:08 PM

HOUSTON -- A gray lady celebrating her 99th birthday on Tuesday welcomed a smiling visitor who hadn’t seen her in more than 60 years.

As he walked up her gangplank, Cosel Foster leaned against a wheelchair for support and marveled at the sight of the U.S.S. Texas, the retired battleship that brought him home from the Pacific War in 1945

“I came from California back from Pearl Harbor on the last trip,” Foster remembered.

He was a Marine, but he volunteered to work in the barber shop in exchange for early chow and a better place to sleep.

“This is it,” he said. “And I’m here to see it.”

Of course, plenty of other people already on board had come to see it too.

Children climbed onto the guns that helped Foster’s fellow Marines storm the beaches of Japanese-occupied islands during World War II.

Veterans wearing baseball caps bearing military insignia taught their grandchildren invaluable lessons of history.

“It’s something they can walk on,” said Cristal Bostain, a school teacher who brought her daughter aboard the ship. “They can see history instead of reading it in a book.”

Indeed, three generations of the Bostain family wandered the decks of the Battleship Texas on the 99th anniversary of her commissioning.

“The kids are having a ball,” said Pat Bastain, whose grandchildren scurried around the ship. “They love to do stuff like this.”

An old ship that hasn’t fired its guns in decades still has a place in this world. The U.S.S. Texas, a veteran of two world wars, has spent the decades since the
Japanese surrendered docked next to the San Jacinto Battleground, a floating monument to the nation’s naval heritage.

Uniformed state workers and dedicated volunteers spend their days wandering the decks telling tourists about her past. The Battleship Texas, they remind visitors, fired its huge guns off the coasts of France on D-Day and shelled the shores of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

She’s a giant museum piece now and, sadly, she’s showing her age. Rust and patches scar the ship’s hull along the waterline, evidence of the startling incident a few months back when the ship took on so much water she began listing to one side.

Even Cosel Foster, who’s 88 years old, can tell the 99-year-old ship that brought him back from the Pacific needs a lot of work

“Well, it needs some maintenance, I think,” he said.

At long last, the work is about to begin.

Next month, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced, contractors will begin the first major structural repairs on the Battleship Texas in 20 years. The $17.5 million contract went to Taylor Marine of Beaufort, S.C., which recently replaced part of the steel hull of the Battleship North Carolina.

“She was in commission 36 years, served her country well,” said Winnie Trippet, the curator of the Battleship Texas for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “And you know, usually the Navy takes her ships to dry-dock every two to five years, and she hasn’t been in twenty-something years.”

Most of the work will happen below decks where the public is not allowed. Officials say tourists will still be able to visit the ship and should see only minor disruptions while the repairs are underway.

The work was made possible by a bond issue approved by Texas voters in 2008. But officials say they may need even more money to carry out the ambitious plan to eventually dry berth the Texas on her current site.

“That’s great,” said Cristal Bostain, watching her children run around the ship’s deck. “They need to renovate it and keep history alive. They say history is going to repeat itself, so keep it alive.”

 

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