HOUSTON—Crews have been working 24-hour days to keep up with extraordinary amounts of water leaking onboard Battleship Texas. There is an estimated 800 gallons of water per minute flowing into the ship.
The historic ship, which just turned 100 years old in May, is only one of six remaining that served in both World War I and World War II.
The ship manager says crews noticed the unusual amount of water coming onboard sometime on Saturday. Since then, workers have been at it day and night just trying to keep up.
A number of pumps have been brought to the site as the water is being directed back out into the channel. Staffers with Texas Parks and Wildlife, volunteers, a separate contractor and a salvage diving company have teamed up to take on this task.
There’s a big concern about oil getting into the channel. That’s why there is a boom placed near the ship, essentially collecting any excess oil that might leak out.
Workers are also trying to scoop the oil out of the lower portions of the ship. It is then being filtered out through pumps.
The goal is to have this fixed by Wednesday and to make sure no other leaks pop up.
“We’re dealing with a 100-year-old vessel…so you’re dealing with something that wasn’t designed to last this long. We think we can probably manage a patch, a repair on it, but this is always a concern that this could sprout up again in a different place,” said Andy Smith, the Ship Manager of Battleship Texas.
The ship manager said the lower portions of the ship have been closed to the public. People have still been allowed onboard the second deck and above.
“We got a lot of hoses working and pumps working, and we don’t want to create a situation where someone might slip on some water,” explained Smith.
Crews are working around the clock to deal with the water that is coming onboard and dive crews are planning to go in and seal the holes.
Many residents who live nearby were concerned about the historic landmark.
"That's one of the blessings of our area," said Phil Drake, resident. "Not only is it the birthplace of Texas, but we've got a memorial like the battleship that served in two wars to remind us of our heritage and our freedom."
For years, there’s been a plan in the works to dry dock the ship for a multi-million-dollar renovation. The ship manager said coming up with that amount of money has proved challenging, and they’re in desperate need of donors to step in and help out.