By CAROL COMEGNO
The battleship USS New Jersey arrived Tuesday at the South
Camden site where it will be renovated into a floating
memorial and museum.
A docking pilot directing four tugs eased the retired
warship into a port terminal where mighty Navy ships were
once built. Under sunshine and blue skies, the New Jersey
arrived at Pier 1 of the South Jersey Port Corp.'s Broadway
Terminal after being towed three-quarters of a mile down
the Delaware River from the Beckett Street Terminal.
At Broadway, the battleship will undergo a $7.3 million
overhaul as part of a more than $20 million project to open
the ship as a floating museum on the Camden Waterfront in
late 2001. The project also includes building a pier and
The terminal where the renovation will take place is the
former site of the New York Shipbuilding Corp., not far
from where the ship was built at the former Philadelphia
Retired Rear Adm. Thomas Seigenthaler cq , executive
director of the nonprofit Home Port Alliance that is
overseeing the project, said restoration is expected to
take more than a year.
"Now we can finally get to the hands-on work," said
Seigenthaler, whose group received the donated ship from
the Navy last month.
Seigenthaler was one of those aboard the 58-year-old,
887-foot-long ship when it made its trip Tuesday. Also on
board were mooring line handlers and a few members of the
alliance, guests and Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J. The trip began
at 1:45 p.m. and took less than an hour, though mooring
took several more hours. The ship is docked with almost 100
feet of its stern beyond the end of the 850-foot pier. The
move cost $15,000 for pilots, line handlers and tugs.
"It was so smooth," alliance member Ann Duvall said of
the ride. "The niftiest part was when they turned her in
the middle of the river."
Retired Navy Capt. David McGuigan, alliance president,
said extensive restoration work will include underwater
hull inspection and cleaning, hull and topside
superstructure preservation and painting, teak deck
replacement, removal of hazardous materials inside the
ship, installation of security systems and creation of tour
Following its restoration, the ship will be towed back
upriver to a new T-shaped pier and landside visitor
complex, also to be constructed near the State
"South Jersey Port is honored to house this historic
ship. Many great ships were built at this facility, so it
is meaningful that this ship comes here to a once-great
shipbuilding site," said Joseph Balzano, South Jersey Port
Corp. executive director and alliance member.
The carrier Kitty Hawk, the NS Savannah and nuclear
submarines were among ships built at the former New York
There are no plans to open the ship to the public while
work is under way.
Last week, an estimated 11,000 visitors went on board
during a two-day preview.