HOUSTON — The Battleship Texas Foundation has announced where and who will be repairing the historic battleship.
The battleship will be repaired at Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corporation’s Galveston shipyard. With the help of the Battleship Texas Foundation and Valkor Energy Services, Gulf Copper recently acquired a floating drydock capable of lifting the ship out of the water for necessary and extensive hull repairs. The dreadnought has been docked at the San Jacinto Battleground Historic Site in La Porte since 1948.
"Commissioned in 1914 as the most powerful weapon in the world, the Battleship Texas is credited with the introduction and innovation of advances in gunnery, aviation and radar. She is the last surviving dreadnought as well as the only battleship in existence today that fought in both World War I and World War II," Battleship Texas Foundation says.
Seamen watched the historic flag raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima from its decks.
BTF said the new drydock acquisition was a critical milestone in Battleship Texas’s $35 million hull repair project.
The location of the yard in Galveston also significantly reduces risk since the tow is both in sheltered waters and the distance is shorter than other potential options. The Battleship Texas is projected to enter the Gulf Copper’s new Galveston drydock in the second quarter of 2022, per BTF, after it’s made ready for the battleship.
BTF operates the Battleship Texas under a 99-year memorandum of understanding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which owns the battleship. In 2019, the state’s legislature passed SB-1511, directing the Texas Parks and Wildlife to enter a 99-year lease with a qualified nonprofit to operate the ship. In that same session, state lawmakers appropriated $35 million to fund the hull repair of the Battleship Texas.
The project group including the BTF, the operator of the Battleship Texas, Valkor and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the ship’s owner, have been working together to mitigate the risk to the ship throughout this entire project. The foundation previously released video in 2019 showing how the ship would be towed out of the Houston Ship Channel for repairs.
In 2020, the Battleship Texas Foundation sought proposals for the selection of a new home for the historic battleship. The current berth at the San Jacinto State Historic Site could not financially support the Battleship’s annual maintenance costs.
Resolve Marine Group was contracted in 2020 to prepare the Battleship Texas for tow by BTF and Valkor. BTF, Resolve and Valkor worked for six months to reduce the amount of water leaking into the Battleship Texas by installing more than 750,000 gallons of expanded foam. This reduced the leak rate from 2,000 gallons per minute to under 20 gallons per minute, allowing the ship to be safer to tow.