Contributions played a major part in saving the Battleship North Carolina from a welder's torch and brought it to Wilmington in late 1961(Source: USS North Carolina)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
Contributions played a major part in saving the Battleship North Carolina from a welder's torch and brought it to Wilmington in late 1961.
Now, another major fundraising campaign to keep the North Carolina afloat is well underway and has seen great success.
When the USS North Carolina was nudged into its current location across from downtown Wilmington, it came under an agreement the state has with the Navy to have regular repair work done on the vessel. But weather conditions have taken its toll on the ship.
Several years ago, some emergency hull repair work had to be done after several below deck compartments on her starboard side flooded. Nearly four years later, that repair work continues to keep that area free of water.
But it revealed that other parts of the ship's hull had become dangerously thin and a campaign was begun to raise money for a full hull repair project, along with construction of a memorial walkway.
"So to fund this project, we established a $17 million dollar goal, and today, I am proud to present that we are at $14.9 million of that $17 million dollar goal," said Battleship North Carolina Executive Director Terry Bragg. "All of the permits, all of the thermograph measuring of the water, all of the CAMA initiatives have been met, as well as the design of the cofferdam and walkway have been completed and approved by the state of North Carolina for construction."
Bids are now being taken for the upcoming work, and once they are awarded, Captain Bragg believes we will see the first phase of the project get cranked up in the next few months.
The first phase will include moving barges, cranes and the equipment that will be needed for construction of the cofferdam and walkway.
"This is a complex project, this is not your typical build something on the water, you know, we have a 40,000 ton battleship that is here in brackish water. And we have to develop a technical solution, based on geo-technical work, which is what is going on under the ship 30 feet below," said Capt. Bragg. "So we are taking our time, we are going to do it right and this is going to be a great public/private partnership between the state of North Carolina, which is partially funding this project, as well as the donors, who have been so supportive of the Battleship."
And when the work is completed, it is expected the repairs will continue to keep the USS North Carolina open for the public, which is a North Carolina memorial to World War II veterans and the 10,000 state residents who died during the war.