Decommissioned WWII-era Navy destroyer docked in Buffalo sinking after hull breach

Part of protecting and sharing the legacy of America’s incredible history is the preservation of key artifacts and items that played vital roles in the creation of that history or are at least broadly representative of particular contributions.

One such item is a decommissioned World War II-era U.S. Navy destroyer docked in Buffalo, New York, that has been taking on water through a breach in the hull is perilously close to sinking, Military.com reported.

That ship is the USS The Sullivans, which was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers from Iowa who tragically had all been assigned to the USS Juneau and were all killed together when that ship was sunk by a Japanese torpedo during World War II.

The ship named after the Sullivan brothers is one of four decommissioned Navy vessels docked at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, and crews are currently hard at work to save the historical ship from completely sinking.

“Failure is not an option”

Local media outlet WIVB reported that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Thursday, “This morning, the USS The Sullivans took on water and is partially sinking due to a major hull breach.”

“Efforts are underway to evaluate the situation and take appropriate action to preserve this critical piece of our nation’s naval heritage,” the mayor added. “The Department of Public Works and the Buffalo Fire Department are on-site and coordinating with the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Servicemen’s Park staff to determine the next course of action.”

Paul Marzello, president of the naval park, acknowledged what a “tough day” it was for the workers and how it “doesn’t long very good” for the cherished ship, but expressed confidence that the vessel would be saved and highlighted the fact that while the hull breach had yet to be repaired, more water was being pumped out per minute than was still rushing in.

“There is no chance that the ship is actually going to sink,” Marzello said, and added, “Failure is not an option.”

Repair group on hand and at work

WIVB noted that it has been known for years that the ship desperately needed repairs to remain afloat and a hull breach was possible. Just last year, more than $1 million was raised in private donations for such repairs, and that amount was bolstered by another nearly half-million in federal funding from Congress earlier this year.

According to The Buffalo News, a company known as BIDCO Marine Group was hired last year to do the necessary repair work but was forced to halt that work in October when the water became too cold for divers and their equipment.

That group is back on the scene again now, this time with “industrial-size” pumps, and divers are working hard in the still-frigid and dark waters to find and survey the severity of the breach so that it can swiftly be patched to prevent the ship from sinking.

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