Andy Smith, the ship’s manager, says the problem was first discovered this past weekend.
“Since about Saturday morning, we discovered some water coming in on the ship, more than normal. We tested it out, started pumping, through the day Saturday we were doing pretty good, about Saturday evening it started getting worse.”
So for the past few days, Smiths crew has been pumping water out of the ship trying to find the source of the leak, so they can get it patched up.
He says some of the areas that flooded contained oil, not a lot, but enough that they’re trying to get the oil out first, so that it’s not being pumped back into the ship channel. Smith isn’t sure, but says he has a good idea where the water is coming from.
“We believe we have it isolated to one of our inner bottom tanks that are right below the engine room. About mid part of the last third of the ship or so, middle portion of the center line.”
The Battleship Texas was commissioned in 1914 and brought to Texas in 1948. At nearly 100 years old, Smith says problems are to be expected.
“You know she’s been floating since 1912 and not all that steel has been replaced over the course of her life. In fact, last time that we as an organization patched or repaired that portion or amount of steel, we only did about 15 percent below the water line, so the other 85 percent could be as old as 1912.”
No matter what happens, the ship won’t sink. Not because it’s unsinkable, but because it’s only sitting in 30 feet of water and its already just a foot from the bottom. But Smith says, with a ship that old, even hitting the bottom could cause significant damage.