a 32,000-ton vessel that fired 255 14-inch shells toward Nazi positions during D-Day’s opening 34 minutes in 1944. The 100-year old vessel has been on display in the Houston Ship Channel for more than 60 years.
But the 573-foot dreadnought has sprung several leaks recently, forcing the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife to shut it down to visitors since mid-June. The state scrapped its plan to open it for July 4th after a new pair of leaks appeared. They have been patched with concrete, plywood and epoxy, and there are plans to open the vessel this weekend. But now a third leak began. Plans call for a pair of emergency pumps to remain aboard the vessel to fight any new leaks.
Texas has spent $300,000 on Texas since the latest round of leaks was detected June 9. The ship’s half-inch thick steel plate has been eaten away by decades in salt water.
The state wants to dry-berth the ship, and in 2007 Texas and private donors pledged $29 million to make that happen. Unfortunately, recent estimates peg the cost of the project as high as $75 million (it cost $5.8 million to build).
Before you criticize Texas (the state), remember that the U.S.S. Texas is the world’s oldest surviving dreadnaught, served in both World Wars, and has been sitting in salt water for over a century. She needs some TLC.