Strafford Morss, Preservation Engineer



o- DD-445 Class, underwater body surface area about 15,000 ft2
o- Inactivated, docked February, March 1960
o- Docked 1980-81 in Boston by Boston National Historic Park.
o- Inactivated in Norfolk, majority of berthing at Philadelphia in fresh water.
o- Upon docking, vinyl coating about 85% intact

Formula 117, Vinyl Butyral Wash Primer
Vinyl anti-corrosive (red lead)
Vinyl anti-fouling
Coating failure due to inappropriate use of Formula 117 in fresh water with impressed current cathodic protection-Unknown at time.
o- Hull steel in good condition: benefited from fresh water storage
o- All exterior welded blanks in good condition
o- Project bore high cost of activating CONSTITUTION Dry dock after long period of disuse


o- DD-692 (Long Hull), also referred to as DD-710 Class. 17,000 ft2 underwater body surface area
o- Last previous docking (in service) 1969
o- This docking December 1986-end of February 1987.
o- Minimal work accomplished during decommissioning lay-up spring 1973.
o- Heavy electrolytic corrosion noted at floatation water line (2250 tons displacement:
very light), heat affected zones of welds, rivet heads.
o- Ship gas freed at pier side waiting to go on dock, 23,000 gallons black oil removed and disposed of (with difficulty-hazardous waste)
o- Directed ultrasonic inspection in dock, found many more problems than generalized 500+ readings performed on grid layout while afloat. Some holes, some 88% plate thinning found after blasting

- Ship had had severe electrical problems in service
- Effect of dissimilar steels (STS, HTS, mild steel) and their electrolytic inter-action not recognized at time.
o- Two hull cracks found, one aggravated by freezing water in very cold weather
o- All 43 hull openings below waterline blanked externally with welded half inch mild steel doublers
o- Propeller shafting sealed at hull exits by fabricated closure structures, welded to hull and to shafts
o- 16743 deteriorated, leaking rivet heads seal welded,
o- 1500 ft2 of 3/8 mild steel doublers installed mainly at waterline
o- 3000 Ibs. internal structural, boiler foundations/supports, renewed in machinery spaces
o- Main Deck repair (STS) by mild steel and stiffeners in forward uptake
o- Cold weather primers (International FP series) used on underwater body. One coat vinyl AF.
o- Hull zincs not replaced, because of berth impressed current cathodic protection system: Big mistake not installing zincs
o- Sonar Dome removed, cable ways into hull blanked.. Extended 5 feet below base
o- Propellers left in place, painted, to improve towing characteristics. Extend 4'-9" below base line, affect block height and perhaps overall dock size required
o- Total Cost: Fall River to Fall River, $1,455,700 +/-


o-1914 vintage battleship, dry docked December 1988-August 1989, Galveston, Texas
o- Ship previously dry-docked February 1948
o- Ship moored brackish water in Houston Ship Channel, Buffalo Bayou.
o- Ship had been purposefully ballasted down onto bottom in 1948 by filling fuel tanks, then surrounded by hydraulic backfill (mud).
o- Other compartments flooded: Ship had 92 fuel tanks.
o- First tasks to strengthen ship's stern, restore vertical bulkhead WT integrity in stern, float ship again by removing oil/water mix. Ship partially afloat in September 1987, not ready to tow until 12/88. Removed more than 2,100,000 gallons oil/water mix (about 8% oil); rebuilt engine room inner bottoms; discovered anaerobic bacteria eating fuel, generating H2S and sulphurous acid which ate out steel from within, including connecting piping and structural plating..
o- Replaced gaskets and chalk tested 232 watertight doors, 3rd Deck and below.
o- Ran new or replaced existing electrical circuits. Installed emergency diesel generator in 40MM magazine on deck.
o- Modified 3rd Deck through hulls to allow quick access for emergency submersible pump discharges. Allowed increased pump discharge capacity through vertical head reduction.
o- Ship had additional leakage on tow to Galveston: bodily sinkage compensated for by increase in water salinity, giving additional buoyancy. Just cleared dry dock blocks
o- 98 flooded compartments open to sea, including most blister tanks, identified on dock.
o- 68,000 ft2 underwater body surface area.
o- Gas freeing had to start on dock and continued until April 1989, significantly delaying start of blasting and generalized plate removal, and increasing costs. 258 tanks/compartments required gas freeing
o- Heavy underwater shell plate damage. 14,100 ft2 underwater shell were replaced 1/2 inch mild steel welded plate. Original 5/8 inch mid-body shell plate retained if 3/8 thick or over (economy measure), but required reduced thickness replacement to avoid "hard spots."
o- Plate damage from:

Internal: anaerobic bacteria generating (eventually) acid that ate out pipe and plate;
standard bimetallic corrosion in the blister tanks from the 5 ft tall 8" aluminum bronze flooding valves in each lower blister compartment;
External: bi-metallic corrosion from heat affected zones, rivet heads, and the sheet steel pile bulkhead of the berth;
physical erosion from sand/silt laden water swirling around the berth every time a ship passed in the ship channel.
A quarter inch doubter was totally worn through on the stem at the mud line,
o- Every external blank on the underwater hull had failed, either welded or bolted.
o- Efforts were initially made to save UWB plate rivet seams, as "items peculiar" to the ship's structure. Riveted seams were removed in later plate work and the strake line joints reconfigured.
o- Over 43,000 rivets were repaired by welding at $9 apiece.
o- Blister compartments were rebuilt, but without the tight divider platform. All penetrations to the interior of the hull were welded blanked (285 +/-). Some of the large aluminum bronze drain valves were removed, depending if their foundations and sea openings required repair.
o- The ship was fully sandblasted to near white metal from keel to mast head and
coated. Primers were Ameron epoxy Topside color coat was dark blue 30% silicone alkyd.
Note: International was not asked to bid because of observed problems with the local rep. Devoe was the preferred supplier, or an "approved equal." Todd quoted Ameron, at a lower price, without owner's approval. Devoe refused to discuss technical differences in their formulations from Ameron, lost job. Ameron had not purchased Devoe marine at that time.
o- Underwater body was all Ameron 385. No antifouling was used Topside:
o- Stack top was blanked.
o- Stack wire support shrouds, rotted out, replaced. Locating insulators a problem.
o- More than 3000 ft2 of Main Deck plate was replaced (quarter inch mild steel, as was the original deck material in those areas).
o- Four 1.1 inch gun mounts were removed and 10 quad 40mm gun mounts ( 8 from
USS MISSOURI) added to their historic locations (1945) Appropriate gun and director tubs were rebuilt from ship's drawings and located in their historic locations. New work is all mild steel, not STS.
o- The 1968 four inch thick concrete deck was removed from the Main Deck and replaced by a four inch long leaf southern yellow pine (40,000 ft2 +/-) A very small portion of the original wood deck remains.
o- Foremast and Main mast platforms and structures were repaired/replaced. Some high mast houses were replaced in exterior form only.
o- The SK radar antenna (17 ft square) was recreated from drawings, archaeological findings on the pedestal, period photographs, and some engineering educated guesswork to a very respectable replica.
o- Extensive bi-metallic corrosion noted, and repaired in Foremast Fire Control house.
o- Nominal mid-ships Boat Crane boom repairs, port and starboard.
o- Decking work was accomplished after the ship left Galveston.

Berth Modifications:
o- The berth was dredged to assure the ship would remain afloat at all times.
o- Two six foot diameter mooring caissons were constructed. With massive connecting fixtures bolted into the belt armor-inside the blister, the fixtures slide up and down on the caissons with water level changes. The mooring system, loosely modeled after KIDD in Baton Rouge, is designed to withstand 125 mile per hour winds.

USS TEXAS reopened to visitors in 1991.
Estimated Cost: While Texas Parks and Wildlife Department disagrees, my estimate of the total restoration package including market value of donated in-kind services ($ millions), actual costs of contracts that were underbid, shipyard, and site redevelopment puts the cost of the project from $18-21,000,000, 1987-1991.


A unit of the SOUTH DAKOTA class battleships, MASSACHUSETTS and sister ALABAMA survive as museum/memorials. Inactivated in 1946-47, MASSACHUSETTS last dry docked at Newport News in July 1952. MASSACHUSETTS was dry docked in South Boston from November 7, 1998 until March 3, 1999, more than 46 years out of dock.
o- The underwater body surface area is about 89,000 ft2 at current drafts.
o- Docking was initially proposed in 1989, and nearly $1,000,000 spent cleaning fuel tanks, removing 125,000 gallons tank cleaning slops, asbestos abatement in the engineering spaces, and recommissioning the dry dock in South Boston. Funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the project was cancelled due to financial constraints.
o- August 1998, the Commonwealth reinstated the project with a new funding authorization increased from $ 6 million in 1989 to $ 10 million in 1998. 1989 specifications were updated to meet more stringent environmental and workplace requirements.
o- A series of high tides, beginning November 3, dictated movement date and time.
o- Work accomplished by competitive bid prior to movement included:
Removal of masts and antennas to clear bridges in Narragansett and Mt Hope Bays
Repair and preservation of antennas and mast platforms. Necessary, but less, work was required than the previous repair period of 1986
Accomplishment of necessary insurance related work regarding watertight integrity for a 300 mile open ocean tow
Activation and rigging anchor handling equipment, including 3 inch chain and both windlasses to deploy and retrieve an anchor
Rental and installation of an on-board diesel generator to provide light and power (600Kw). The 225 HP anchor windlass starting loads dictated the size.
Necessary tank and bilge cleaning, especially those tanks not accomplished in 1989
Asbestos abatement and encapsulation of all four main spaces; two major auxiliary spaces; and a 35 year old asbestos dumping area forward
Closure of more than 300 bolted manhole covers in the inner bottom, sea valve cofferdams, triple bottom structure, damage control side voids, and fuel tanks that had been opened for cleaning and not yet closed.
Switchboard Fire Repairs: No 2 switchboard shorted out and melted a section of 1 x 4 inch copper bus from water wetting during the asbestos abatement work. After repairs were made, all four main and two emergency switchboards were cleaned, tightened and repaired for the first time since 1946. Numerous sheared bus bar bolts were found. Several grounds were identified and corrected. Work was accomplished at night. Upon completion the process was repeated on destroyer Kennedy (two Main, two emergency switchboards). A major ground was identified and corrected.
o- Ship required ballasting to achieve a four foot bow trim, down from 7.5 feet normal bow trim. Six nominally cleaned forward fuel tanks were ballasted with salt water

Conditions found on dock:
o- Removal, and disposal of ballasted fuel tank contaminated water cost $141,000
o- Underwater body was found to be heavily pitted. Pits looked similar to the surface of a natural sponge.
o- One port side fuel tank was pitted, holed, and had been plugged by ship's staff. The plug was 12 feet under water.
o- A bow storeroom had been penetrated at the waterline. Built up rust had temporarily sealed the leak
o- On inactivation the ship had been partially externally blanked on the larger (over 10 inch) openings. All external blanking had failed.
o- All flexible seals sealing the four shafts had been penetrated.
o- Sandblasting revealed severe corrosion at the floatation waterline. The waterline was also at a bimetallic joint (STS above, NTS below and all rivets HTS). Ends of vessel were mild steel.
o- Solution: Install 8 ft high by 532 ft half inch doubler on each side, bisecting the floatation waterline, from bow to abeam No 3 turret. In effect a sacrificial corrosion plate.
A great deal of Red Hand epoxy putty was used to fill pits on the waterline and in the hull. (Cost about $325,000)
o- Doublers, rather than seal welding, was used to seal other leaking rivet seams on the underwater body.
o- Structurally the ship was fair and true, with no signs of hogging, sagging.
o- The after bilge keels have a very interesting shape that may account for the bow squat at speed.
o- Repair methods were driven both by cost and especially by time. The ship had to be back in Fall River, and operational, to receive 500 overnight campers previously booked for March 19,1999.
o- High pressure water blast (5000 psi) was used to accomplish chloride decontamination to the satisfaction of International Paint's representatives. This was much less expensive than the phosphoric acid technique used on TEXAS 10 years earlier.
o- Prior to sandblasting, 15-20% of the 1952 paint system was identified as remaining A commercial silver primer with an anti-fouling topcoat had been applied over the existing coatings (probably hot plastic).
o- All 108 exterior hull openings were blanked using half inch welded mild steel.
Approximately 95 are on the flat bottom.
o- Outboard screws were removed and welded steel "cans" welded to the shaft bossings to make the outboard shafts watertight. Propellers were left on the inboard shafts and a plate cover welded to the hull, and ingeniously clamped to the shafts, to make the inboard shafts tight. The concept was the same as used on Kennedy in 1987, except for the clamping the seal assembly to the shafts instead of welding.
o- 125 - 23 pound strap zincs were bolted to the rudders and bottom around the screws.
o- Renewed foot ropes and hardware on Main Signal yards and the Mainmast yard. Last done in 1986
o- The underwater paint system including stripe coats over plate edges and corners was International FP epoxy with low temperature activator. No anti-fouling was used, saving over $150,000 in labor and material.
o- An evaluation was performed evaluating both Ameron's and International's
submissions as to price, number of coats, low temperature performance.
o- Freeboard painting: ship was blasted to rail, two coats of FP epoxy applied, and eventually 2 coats of Interthane 990 polyurethane, full gloss.
o- The FP has proved extremely tough and abrasion resistant, both where tow boats broke through the polyurethane and under the abrasion of the Fall River mooring cell fender system. The polyurethane is not abrasion resistant, but has retained its appearance and is very handsome.
o- Independent resident Third Party paint inspection was utilized during the entire docking period. Responsible only to the owner, the inspector was invaluable, and was responsible for superior hull surface preparation and coatings application. Inspection costs were just under $50,000.
o- Schedule: Massachusetts came off dock, returned to Fall River, and reopened to visitors on schedule, March 19, 1999.

o- Direct shipyard costs were $ 6,400,000
o- Shipyard sub-contracts, mostly tank cleaning, were $ 655,000+.
o- Miscellaneous support (make ready, tow, restore) contracts were about $ 1,456,000 for a total of $8,510,000 +/-.


When it was apparent that Battleship shipyard and associated costs would not take all the available $10,000,000 appropriation, it was decided to also dock submarine LIONFISH. A tentative budget of $850,000 was established including make ready, tow to and from Boston via the Cape Cod Canal, and the necessary shipyard work. LIONFISH had last been dry docked, we think, in 1966.
o- LIONFISH, a BALAO class thick-skin Fleet Submarine, arrived at Battleship Cove in 1972 after serving as an immobile training platform at Providence, R.I.
o- Approximate surface area of the underwater body, including the ballast tanks to the superstructure deck, is 10,000 ft2.
o- To control costs, no hull or saddle tank work beneath the superstructure was specified, even though serious preservation problems were known to exist.
o- The free flooding ends of the vessel, enclosing the bow and stern torpedo tubes, were known to have serious steel problems.
o- Prior to leaving Fall River work included addressing insurance survey requirements, particularly setting the rudder fore and aft, and locking the diving planes in specified positions.
o- Tank cleaning, removal, and disposal of petroleum products on board (diesel, lube, and hydraulic oil) cost almost $70,000.
o- The hull showed very heavy corrosion problems.

-Bow and stern free flooding areas were re-plated with 15 Ib. vs. 10 Ib. plate to maintain the visual form, but not replace or recreate the original structure. The dissimilar metal concentration (bronze torpedo tubes) had destroyed both ends of the vessel.
- The ballast tanks were heavily pitted. Plate thickness varies from 3/8 to 1 inch thickness. The shell plate expansion plan was used to mark plate thickness on the hull with paint. A carpenter's pin profile gauge was useful in determining pit depth, and therefore what was left. Ultrasonic thickness gauging, normally a very useful technique was not cost effective due to gross pitting.
- 1966 bilge block areas (no fleeting) had pitting over 1/4 inch deep.
- The floatation waterline was heavily pitted.
- Ballast tank plate was dented and penetrated in way of the mooring dolphin piles at Battleship Cove.
- Extensive, deep, wormhole tracking of the plate was noted where the vessel had been in the mud at Providence.
- Several open sea chests had failed due to pitting.
- All underwater blanking for machinery sea openings, etc had failed and required replacement.
o- The on-dock period was March 7 to May 15, 1999.
o- It was planned to fleet the vessel in conjunction with the docking of USNS ALTAIR, a 946 foot SL-7 high speed cargo ship. Many of the costs of the fleeting operation and final undocking were borne by ALTAIR.
o- In addition to bow and stern plate work, doubter repairs were made. Red hand epoxy was used to fill in pits and provide a waterline belt.
o- Two 8x8 wood rubbing strakes were installed in way of the mooring dolphin piles. These can be replaced in the water.
o- The Trim System suction and discharge sea chest was repaired and left open
o- Each pair of Fuel and Ballast Tanks are open and joined to each other at the bottom. When ballasting through a tank manhole cover, the other side must be open to equalize levels. Normal tank vents are blanked, and water will not equalize levels against a trapped air bubble.
o- Flooding port inlets are very close to the keel. To replace the heavily pitted blanking plates keel blocks would have to be removed for access. The full extent of the deterioration of the blanking plates had not been anticipated and funds were not available to remove and replace them.
o- Lack of equalization from leakage, originally thought of as "off center leakage," was expected during the fleeting movement, but not the ship having an 18 degree list returning to dock. At the end of a very long day, the dock master set the submarine on the keel blocks within 1/4 inch of the blocking centerline.
o- Final ballasting on dock resulted in a blank failure from internal tank static head (deep pitting). A hurried fix followed, welding machines were removed from the basin, and the dock flooded.
o- As the vessel floated, well before ALTAIR, she started to list again. The equalization problem was finally recognized and opposite side tank covers loosened from a crane safety bucket. Levels equalized and LIONFISH righted herself by midnight.
o- Paint system: From keel to bottom edge of superstructure, the hull was blasted to near-white metal, coated with an epoxy holding primer, Red Hand epoxy putty as necessary, a stripe coat over welds, rivets, raised plate edges, and three final coats of International FP series epoxies. The coating specification was the same as used for the MASSACHUSETTS. The contractor was different. No anti-fouling was used.

Make ready costs, including insurance surveys and towing both ways, totaled $234,000+/-. Initial shipyard budget was $600,000 and increased to $635,000. The total was about $869,000. The resulting work accomplished was constrained by funding, and less than needed. Re-docking, if funding becomes available, would be very desirable.
Anticipated costs would be well over $1.5 million.
o- Dry docking costs were $198,000.+/-
o- Painting costs were $117.000+/-
o- Items for rudder repair, draft marks, Third party paint inspection were deleted and funds reallocated to steel work, which never seemed to stop.
o- Steel work costs, including re-build of bow and stern, was $263,900+/-


Included as part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts preservation appropriation for MASSACHUSETTS, $2,050,000 was additionally allocated to dry dock USS SALEM (CA-139). SALEM, at her building yard in Quincy, Massachusetts was located close to Boston Harbor. SALEM management determined that she should be docked during the winter 1999-2000 in the same dry dock used for MASSACHUSETTS and later ALTAIR and LIONFISH. SALEM's sister DES MOINES had been inactivated in that dry dock in 1961.

After 10 years service, SALEM was inactivated in Norfolk, including inactivation dry docking, from November 1958-March 1959. In 1962+/-, SALEM was towed from Norfolk to Philadelphia, remaining there until the Fall of 1994, when she was towed to her Quincy berth to begin service as a museum.

Limited funding limited the scope of work to docking, blast and paint from keel to rail; inspect external underwater blanking, and blank any openings not found blanked.. Necessity to gas free prior to accomplishing hull work would seriously affect available funds for necessary work.

There was not adequate funding to fleet the vessel. 36 feet longer than the battleship, SALEM is lightly built and side blocking must rest on frames. Fleeting would require removal from the dock, the dock drained (8-12 hours), side blocking reset, and repositioning in the dock again. Docking costs would be very near double. Other associated costs would be out-and-in towboats, pilot, union pier line handling, and pier berth costs.
o- SALEM, like TEXAS was forty years out of dock.
o- SALEM was under impressed current cathodic protection from 1960 until 1994, nothing since arriving in Quincy
o- De-fueling to low suction occurred in 1964.
o- Ship was berthed in fresh water from 1962 until 1994.
o- The docking period was early December 1999 until the end of February 2000.
o- Dimensions are 716 x 76-6 x 23, approximately 16,000 tons on dock., underwater hull area was manually calculated at 63, 000 ft2.
o- Proposed work scope closely followed MASSACHUSETTS.

Ameron and International competed as coating system suppliers, low temperature performance being a major consideration. International was selected as the evaluated low bidder. When specifically questioned, Ameron agreed with the no anti-fouling concept.
The specification included chloride decontamination (5000 psi water wash) and Independent Third Party coatings inspection.
Bronze propellers were cleaned and coated with the full epoxy system. The existing coating appeared to have been Navy Hot Plastic, spotted and overcoated to cover area disturbed during inactivation. Coatings appeared intact.
Close examination revealed bubbles that looked like rivet heads. Breaking the bubble showed black corrosion products (magnetite). Blasting out the magnetite revealed early stage large pits. A full scale object lesson demonstrating what happens without impressed current cathodic protection.
Freeboard coating was similar to MASSACHUSETTS except one coat of Interthane 990 was specified, anticipating towboat damage upon undocking and return.

Hull conditions:
Exterior side armor belt (STS) extends from Turret One just past Turret Three, the armor belt being at the floatation waterline. Hull appeared to have minimal dissimilar metal pitting.
All sea chests were externally blanked, covers bolted to hull not welded. Sample covers failed initial air testing. All blank covers were removed, reinstalled and successfully air tested at 10 psi.
The bow bulb showed in-service denting. The ship has sagged, the bow lifting nearly 6 3/4 inches, starting at the forward armor curtain. A heavy mid-body with armor, machinery, and armament and a light bow without normal fuel for 35 years appear to be the cause. No external signs of structural distress were noted. IOWA class battleships are reportedly showing similar mid-body sagging, or bow lift The Navy required, but did not pay for, shoring the long stern rake (overhang). Cost was about $14,000.
All four shafts were sealed at the hull with welded steel enclosures, using the system developed for KENNEDY and modified on MASSACHUSETTS. Minor gas freeing was required.
132 -23 Ib. welded strap zincs were replaced around propellers and rudder.
o- Final costs are unknown, but totaled slightly less than $2 million.


o- Forty years out of dry dock is too long. A reasonable docking interval would be 20-25 years in salt water.
o- Dissimilar metal construction, including different types of steel, has led to many problems. The tri-metallic hulls of WWII destroyers, battleships (all three WWII classes), carriers is a later maintenance nightmare.
o- Historic ship berthing aground, rather than afloat, while initially less expensive, guarantees future major problems, if not the entire loss of the artifact. TEXAS has dodged the bullet.
o- Impressed current cathodic protection should be mandatory.
o- Only intact coatings can protect the very vulnerable wind/water splash zone. Being able to heel a ship to access and maintain this area is a time-honored and extremely valuable self-help technique.
o- Dry docking is too expensive for an historic naval ship without some form of outside financial assistance.
o- Modern coatings are initially very expensive, but ultimately inexpensive, when compared to available maintenance resources.
o- Regular electrical switchboard cleaning, tightening, maintaining a must. Fifty-two or twenty-six years between maintenance actions is too long. Recommend five year intervals.
o- Galvanic corrosion takes place on high antennas, rigging. On Massachusetts, thirteen years between maintenance activities appears to be a good interval.

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