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USS Texas Begins Hull Repair Project Journey

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The Battleship Texas is towed into the Houston Ship Channel as it makes its way to Galveston for repairs Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, in La Porte. | Image by Houston Chronicle

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Battleship Texas, the only dreadnought battleship still in existence, will leave the San Jacinto Battleground in La Porte on August 31.

The ship will travel to Gulf Copper Galveston for drydocking and repairs, costing around $35 million. The damages are related to exposure to salt, foam, and silt, which has caused leaking in the hull. The repairs will take somewhere between 12 and 14 months.

The Battleship Texas Foundation will livestream the journey throughout the day Wednesday on their YouTube Channel and their Facebook Group. The social media page will also feature live tracking of the ship’s progress.

Since 2010, the ship has had around 35 leaks repaired. The 110-year-old battleship, launched in May 1912, served in both world wars before it was decommissioned and commemorated as a museum in 1948. It has not been moved since 1988 when it was last sent to Galveston for repairs.

The ship played a crucial part in both conflicts and was one of the ships which carried soldiers home from Japan after World War II.

When commissioned, the ship was the first navy ship to launch an aircraft and mount anti-aircraft guns and one of the first to receive protection radar. It was also the first U.S. battleship to become a permanent museum and to be declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

After receiving repairs in Galveston, the ship will not return to the Houston area but will end up at a different permanent residence that is still undecided.

The Battleship Texas Foundation executive director, Bruce Bramlett, said the museum has never generated enough cash flow to justify keeping and maintaining it where it is. While the site has received around 80-90,000 visitors a year, it needs approximately 250,000 to remain afloat.

Tugboats will pull the ship from San Jacinto on Wednesday and arrive in Galveston later in the day, causing water traffic restrictions in the Houston Ship Channel.

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