By RICHARD PEARSALL
Having survived a typhoon that sank three destroyers, not to mention enough combat to make it the Navy's most decorated warship, the Battleship New Jersey was deemed highly likely to survive the coming hurricane by its keepers Tuesday afternoon.
"The New Jersey is no stranger to storms," said Jack Shaw, vice president of operations for the decommissioned ship, now a museum on the waterfront here.
Nonetheless, workers at the ship were busy Tuesday clearing some loose objects from the decks and pier and tying down others - including the on-shore trailers that serve as offices.
"Trailers seem to attract hurricanes," Shaw said. "We're strapping them down."
Canvas awnings and tents on the main deck were coming down and a concession stand on the pier was being disassembled.
Unlike its sister ships in Norfolk, the New Jersey will not be putting out to sea to avoid the possibility of being banged around pier-side.
"Ships are generally happier at sea, where they can maneuver and turn their bows into the wind," Shaw said.
But the huge fenders that hang between the battleship and its concrete pier should provide adequate protection for both ship and pier, Shaw said.
Called "Yokohama bumpers," the rubber fenders are six to 15 feet in diameter.
Nylon lines 10 inches in circumference and anchors fore and aft hold the ship in place while allowing for some give up and down for the tides, north and south for the currents.
"If need be, we can call a local tug service to make sure the ship stays close to the pier," Shaw said.
Commissioned in 1942, one year to the day after Pearl Harbor, the New Jersey is 887 feet long, weighs 45,000 tons and wears battle ribbons from every major conflict the U.S. engaged in from World War II to the Persian Gulf.
Its engine and boiler rooms are no longer operable.
Reach Richard Pearsall at (856) 486-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org