Archive through May 3 2008

Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>The hull has been sitting since 1969 with little to no preventative maintenance being done to it<<

And that's a real problem there. And make no mistake about it, it's a BIG one. A ship represents an enormous capital investment where the cheapest part is the structurally complete hull itself...never mind the fittings...and she's sitting forever in the most relentlessly corrosive environment one can possibly find: Salt water and salt air.

You would be amazed at how quickly rust sets in too. A non-stop job for any ship is painting and even with that, salt water can and does find the tiniest defect in the coating. Take a look at any warship which has returned from some underway time. Even a ship fresh out of refit will already have streaks of rust running down the side. I've seen plenty of those, including a few I've served on.

Even for a non-operational vessel, it's an ongoing fight as anyone who works aboard a museum ship can attest.

Had the SSUS been kept in a proper state of preservation, with the hull sealed and cathodic protection, she might have had a chance.

That's the catch, she wasn't.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
In the February 25 entry on the Maritime Matters weblog, (See http://www.maritimematters.com/shipnews.html ) it was reported that the ex-Independance and her tug were denied permission to stop and refuel in Honolulu because of the presence of toxic materials aboard. (Asbestos, PCB's, the usual sort of thing you find on old ships).

They are reportedly enroute to Guam to refuel there.
 
Ryan Thompson

Ryan Thompson

Member
with the hull sealed and cathodic protection

What exactly is that? Sorry, I'm naive.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>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.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
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

Ryan Thompson

Member
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?
 
J

Jason Schleisman

Member
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.
 
T

Timothy Trower

Guest
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.
 
J

Jason Schleisman

Member
or c.) Bangladesh ~ where the prices paid for ships are often a bit higher. I believe the Independence was stripped of her furnishings here in the USA first before being towed away. However, is that really true? Does anyone know?
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>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.
 
R

Rocky Whiteside

Member
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

Ryan Thompson

Member
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.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>So the cables are just below the waterline?<<

The ends of them are. The other end is hooked up to equipment on the ship itself.
 
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