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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey


Warship prepares to receive visitors


By CAROL COMEGNO
Courier-Post Staff
CAMDEN

Anyone who wants to board the battleship USS New Jersey before she is refurbished as a museum can come to Wiggins Park and board buses that will take them to the ship for tours on Wednesday and Thursday.

The historic and highly decorated warship's new owner, the Home Port Alliance, is allowing public tours free of charge for just these two days before the New Jersey is moved next week to a South Camden pier for repairs.

"Besides thanking the Alliance supporters, the tours will give visitors an opportunity to see how much work the New Jersey really needs, including superstructure and hull painting as well as restoration of its teak deck, before the ship can be showcased as a nationally recognized veterans' memorial," said retired Capt. David McGuigan, alliance president.

He said buses will pick up visitors at 1 Port Center, the high-rise across from the state Aquarium, between 9 a. m. and 2 p.m.

They will be transported to the Beckett Street Terminal of the South Jersey Port Corp., where the ship is docked at Pier 4. No parking will be permitted at the terminal.

McGuigan said the public will be allowed only on the ship's main deck because of restrictions imposed by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, but will be able to see and touch some of the equipment and armaments on the 887- foot battlewagon that dates to World War II. These include three 16-inch gun turrets, the Tomahawk cruise and Harpoon missile area, five-inch gun mounts, the helicopter pad and the anchor and chain.

The EPA said that no visitors could go below because the ship's interior is not yet environmentally clean and visitor-safe. Also, the ship is not handicap-accessible for this week's tours.

more than $20 million to restore the ship and a build a pier, a shoreside visitor center, museum and theater. Tentative opening is set for late 2001.



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