Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Out of Water Body Experience

The USS Intrepid, which has been a fixture on the Manhattan waterfront as a sea, air, and space museum, will be going into dry dock later today. This is the first time in nearly 40 years that the ship has been out of water and it will get a much deserved cleaning and painting.
The war veteran turned floating military museum was to be placed Tuesday in dry dock, where it will be perched on 212 custom-made pine blocks while crews scrape and power-wash its salt and weather corroded keel, then paint it the traditional battleship gray.

It took a complex engineering feat just to have the blocks milled to mimic each dent and scar in the keel from years of wartime service, including repeated Japanese kamikaze and torpedo attacks, said Intrepid Foundation President Bill White.

"This has been such an exciting project to see Intrepid go through such an overhaul to honor our heroes," White said in an interview with The Associated Press.

On Tuesday, the aircraft carrier was to be untied from its slip at Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal and towed to an adjacent dry dock by the same six high-powered tugs boats that wiggled it free of mud where it got stuck four months ago.

The tugs will pull the 41,000-ton Intrepid into the graving dock, a concrete bathtub-like encasement about the size of three American football fields. The ship will be winched into place and then lowered onto the blocks.

The encasement's rear door will be shut and sealed, and the water will be pumped out. More than 6,500 gallons (24,600 liters) of paint — enough for about 400 large houses — will be used to cover the ship from bow to stern.
The Intrepid's dry dock experience is being assisted by a purchase from e-Bay. The Intrepid foundation purchased detailed plans from the company that had acquired records of a shipyard that last worked on the Intrepid 38 years ago. That information was crucial to designing the wooden blocks on which the ship will rest while the maintenance and painting is done.

Web cameras (camera 2) are detailing the work that is taking place both on the ship and at the Manhattan pier (camera 1), which is being completely rebuilt.

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