Bayonne or Jersey City have salt water, there are going to be
problems for the USS New Jersey. As a professional marine painter
with 30 years' experience at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard,
I have seen what salt water can do to steel. Salt water can cause
steel as thick as one inch to rust down. The damaged steel would
have to be replaced. Salt water can also contribute to metal
Ships usually have to be dry-docked every
three years to repair saltwater damage to the hull and other
underwater components. The underwater body has to be sandblasted
and painted with anticorrosive and antifouling paints. This is
very expensive. The paint alone costs thousands of dollars for
a ship the size of the USS New Jersey. It is true that the underwater
body does not suffer the wear and tear of an active ship, but
eventually the salt water will win out.
The shipyard had mothballed ships from World
War II that didn't suffer these problems because they were berthed
in fresh water. Another example was when I was foreman in charge
of painting the underwater body of the SS Becuna (now berthed
at Penn's Landing as a tourist attraction). The painting of the
underwater body was done more than 20 years ago and, as far as
I know, the submarine never had to be dry-docked due to the underwater
body rusting out.
I hope the battleship commission takes this
into consideration and doesn't make the decision of which city
gets the USS New Jersey into a political decision.
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