On Saturday, May 5th, Bill Eubanks and Ron Rose from Harbor Diving Services in Annapolis came to inspect the ship’s bottom. Despite the fact that it was a cold, raw day, not ideal for a swim, they found that from the waterline down to the keel everything is in good shape.
One of the last tasks when the ship was at Colonna Shipyard in the winter of 2008/9 was to install 40 big blocks of zinc to the hull below the waterline. These are sacrificial anodes designed to be eaten away by stray electrical current in the water. Were it not for the zinc anodes, the electrical current would eat away at the steel hull plate instead. Before the zincs are totally eaten away, they will be replaced with new ones, a key step in preserving the hull below the waterline. How fast the zincs will be eaten away depends on the electrical current in the water, which can vary greatly in locations relatively close to each other. Given that it’s not obvious on the surface that this is happening, the way to check is by a visible inspection of the zincs.
Bill and Ron reported that our zincs were in good shape, approximately 90-95% intact. That tells us that, if the current rate of disintegration continues, they will not have to be replaced before the ship goes to a shipyard for bottom painting in the 2018-20 timeframe. Even though everything else below the waterline looked perfect, the ship will have the bottom inspected again in three or four years. This inspection is like a periodic visit to the dentist’s office…you don’t expect to find a problem, but, if you do, it’s much better to deal with it sooner rather than later.
Harbor Diving Services is a firm with a lot of capability. In addition to the complex diving equipment, complete with voice communication capability from the diver to the surface, they offer a full line of electrical and welding services. Very generously, they donated their services to the Foundation. This is a case of good people doing great things to preserve an historic treasure for future generations. There have been many such cases and each one is greatly appreciated. For anyone needing the services they offer, we highly recommend Harbor Diving Services, who can be reached at DECOSTOP50@Gmail.com.