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

Friday, August 28, 1998

Saltwater damage

If 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 fatigue.

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.

AL D'IMPERIO
Mantua



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