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Work to repair the Battleship North Carolina’s hull is now complete

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 11:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:39 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s been a years-long process, but repair work to the hull of the Battleship North Carolina has been completed.

The battleship, which arrived in Wilmington in 1961 after serving in World War II, has suffered over 50 years of corrosion at the hands of the Cape Fear River and plans to repair the ship’s hull have been on the table since at least 2010.

The $11 million project began in Aug. 2016 with the construction of a cofferdam to surround the battleship which allowed crews to drain the river water and have access to the ship’s brittle hull.

With the cofferdam construction wrapping up in May 2018, work to replace the steel at the ship’s water-wind line began in June 2020. Atlantic Coast Industrial Marine Construction, a Wilmington-based company, cut and replaced steel on the bow, as well as repainted affected areas of the hull.

Battleship officials held a ceremony Tuesday morning to refill — or flood — the cofferdam area with water now that the hull repairs were recently finished.

“The Battleship North Carolina will be preserved for decades ... so in the next century, when most of the ships from the second World War and the first World War, will have been lost to corrosion and [inability to raise funds for repairs], the Battleship North Carolina will be here representing the state as the state’s memorial to the 10,000 North Carolinians who served and died during World War II,” said Captain Terry Bragg, the executive director of the battleship.

The hull repair project itself was funded largely by the Generations Campaign, a fundraising effort to aid in restoration and maintenance of the battleship and its facilities.

“The work of the Generations Campaign continues with the Living with Water project, which includes plans to restore shoreline and create wetlands to reduce regular flooding at the Battleship site, improve water quality in runoff to the Cape Fear River, enhance wildlife habitat and beautify Battleship Park,” official stated in a news release.

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