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Jul 9, 2000
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>>What exactly is that? Sorry, I'm naive.<<

It's part of the preservation process for a ship going into long term layup. What happens is that doors and exterior vents are closed and sealed with dehumidifyers installed to keep interior humidity at 25% and cables are put out into the water. The electrolysis acts on the cables so they get corroded rather then the ship.

The U.S. Navy has this down to an art form and has been using this process for years to preserve ships in mothballs. It's wonderfully effective too as ships which have been laid up for over twenty years such as the Iowa class battleships have been successfully restored to service. Opening them up is like opening a time capsule.

I don't know how far the owners of merchant vessels go with this sort of thing, but careful preservation over the long term makes all the difference. Had this been accomplished with the SS United States and had the ship not been gutted down to the bare shell, restoring her to service would at least be technically feasible. Maybe even economical.

Unfortunately, if it happened at any point, the mothballing was broken. Sheer neglect did the rest of the damage.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From VOA News:

Ocean Liner's Final Voyage to Asia Under Scrutiny
quote:

A disabled passenger ship being towed across the Pacific Ocean is rekindling debate about how such vessels are scrapped. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from New Delhi.

>snip<

The vessel, formerly the S.S. Independence, is the last U.S.-built ocean liner to sail under the American flag. After being laid up in San Francisco for the past six years it is apparently on a final voyage to India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, the hub of the world's ship-breaking industry.
Full story at http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-02-29-voa28.cfm
 

Ryan Thompson

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Dec 6, 2005
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It's part of the preservation process for a ship going into long term layup. What happens is that doors and exterior vents are closed and sealed with dehumidifiers installed to keep interior humidity at 25% and cables are put out into the water. The electrolysis acts on the cables so they get corroded rather then the ship.

I can understand the vents on the hull being sealed, and I think I'd heard about dehumidifiers being used before. I hadn't heard about the electrolysis thing. The cables are electrified? Are they strapped around the ship's hull like a netting?

Also, the Independence only recently left SF, right? This means Google Earth will still show it as being there, right? Where in SF bay was it -- anybody have the coordinates?
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Hi Ryan, the SS Independence was last berthed at the BAE Shipyard in the SF Bay before departing on February 9th, but she has been moored with the National Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay California, Alameda (California), and Mare Island Naval Shipyard (also in California). A quick Google search will show you where these places are. Google Earth could have taken a picture of her at any one of these locations. I, myself, haven't checked it though.
 
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Timothy Trower

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I can't say that I'll be surprised to a.) hear that they've been denied fuel at Guam and b.) that the very last port of call is Alang.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>The cables are electrified? Are they strapped around the ship's hull like a netting?<<

Electrified...if i recall correctly...yes, but you won't see a netting. What you'll see will be one or perhaps two cables in the water acting as cathodes for the current to flow. That way, the cables get corroded while the ship does not.
 
Nov 21, 2007
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my grandmother was on the maiden voyage of her sister, and traveled on the independence to Italy to go get married. I have a picture of her in one of the restaurants.
 

Ryan Thompson

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Jason -- Found it. 38° 6'3.91"N 122°16'8.24"W The paint looks pretty crisp in the satellite image. The inset copyright stamp for that view on Google Earth says 2008, so I am guessing its a pretty darn recent image. So its really getting scrapped. Sad... sad..

Michael -- So the cables are just below the waterline? Do the cables actually touch the ship's hull? It sounds like they'd have to be replaced periodically.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Cool Ryan! I'll have to check it out.
happy.gif
 
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Timothy Trower

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Rocky,

She will still be under tow at sea -- her final destination perhaps unknown until she arrives for beaching at the boneyard.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>They must be scrapping her right know, because went to that spot on msn maps, and theres nothing there.<<

Since the ship hadn't even reached Guam back on the 1st, that's no surprise. The Independence is what is known as a "dead ship" to us sailors. That is to say, she's not making her own steam and she's being towed deadstick across the Pacific. There might be a generator running somewhere but only to keep a few bare essentials running for anyone who might be aboard to keep an eye on the towing cable. If there's nobody aboard, there won't even be that much going on.

Since she's being towed by an ocean going tug, the trip is going to be a slow one.
 
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Scott R. Andrews

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Speaking of satellite images, has anyone seen an updated image for Alang which shows the Norway in any form? Google Earth's image of the area is rather old, showing what looks to be a number of early to mid 60's vintage cruise ships and an aircraft carrier that I understand was an ex-RN unit that came to Alang after a second life in another country's navy. At the water's edge, there is also what appears to be the last vestiges of what, judging by the beam, must have been one whopping big tanker!

Regards,
Scott Andrews
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Speaking of satellite images, has anyone seen an updated image for Alang which shows the Norway in any form?<<

Not me.

>>Google Earth's image of the area is rather old,<<

Typical I'm afraid. With a whole planet to cover, they can't possibly update it every day. The remains of the aircraft carrier you mentioned may well be that old Brazilian ship which went to the breakers a couple of years ago, but the Argentine Venticinco De Mayo is another possibility.
 

Dave Gittins

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Here's a long article about Independence.

We've heard it all before. A dodgy chain of owners, ship enthusiasts wailing for the ship to be saved and greenies playing up the hazards in the ship.

http://tinyurl.com/36ukn5
 

Ryan Thompson

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They must be scrapping her right know, because went to that spot on msn maps, and theres nothing there.
MSN's map could be an older view from before the ship arrived at those coordinates I gave.

BTW, if you look at the Alang beach on Google Earth and switch on the Placemarkers layer, you can see names for some of the wrecks/partial wrecks on the beach. A couple of them are famous enough to have Wikipedia articles, like the Apollo (which has gone by like four or five other names over the years) at 21°23'58.24"N 72°11'23.18"E and the Albatros, at 21°25'7.61"N 72°12'30.12"E, the bow on the latter of the two is already disassembled. Just up the coast a few hundred feet is what a placemarker claims is the Big Red Boat III. I was able to find details on wikipedia about BRB II but III is a mystery. The Minas Gerais aircraft carrier (probably the same ship Michael and Scott are talking about) sits further down the coast, as does the Harmony I (Statendam). Even though the datestamp is 2008, the Norway isn't visible. So I guess the datestamps can't be relied upon too well...

Its clear why so many people want Alang shut down -- it looks like a sh*thole. You KNOW they aren't taking precautions to keep things from spilling into the ocean. I mean, just LOOK at it. There's a very visible oil spill just down the coast from the ships.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I mean, just LOOK at it.<<

We have, and at ground level thanks to what Martime Matters has published and a show on the Discovery Channel. While it's a matter of record that they've made some improvements there, the owners of those scrapyards have a long way to go. Even then, shipbreaking is still and always will be a messy and dangerous business.
 
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