This post was updated with a link below to reflect a change in plans for work on the battleship.
Those plans have been put on hold for the time being, said Capt. Terry A. Bragg, executive director of the Battleship North Carolina Memorial.
The entire drydocking process — including obtaining permits, towing and dredging the World War II battleship out of the Cape Fear River berth where it’s been for the past 47 years — would require four to five years and between $8 million and $12 million, Bragg said. The USS North Carolina Battleship Commission, which relies entirely on its own funds (from ticket sales, etc.) for the vessel’s upkeep, would have to approach the General Assembly for that much money, Bragg said — and in current economic conditions, that’s just not going to happen.
The good news, Bragg said, is that it appears that the battleship could be serviced by drydock facilities in Charleston, S.C., as well as in Norfolk, Va., where officials thought the North Carolina would have to be towed. That opens the possibility of competitive bidding, which could eventually reduce the costs of restoring the vessel.
The 37,000-ton vessel has not been entirely out of the water for 56 years.
Date posted: July 16, 2009
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