The Elissa was built back in 1877 and is a rare, three-masted tall ship that has been docked in Galveston since the late 1970's. It was one of the few tall ships still sailing until damage to its iron hull was discovered after Hurricane Ike. It's been unable to sail since but is still open to visitors.
Dwayne Jones is the executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation. He says small holes in the hull made it unsafe in open water.
"They weren't always large. They created nickel or smaller sized holes that went all the way through the hull. It's a very unusual thing. It's a combination it appears of micro-organisms working with stray electrical currents."
He says the ship will head to dry dock September 10th and experts will try to fix her.
"We're actually bringing in some highly technical riveters and various other people, there are only a few left in the world who work on this, who can do some restoration work on her who can put her back to the way she was."
FEMA says it will contribute $1.4 to the cost of the repairs.
Jones says that funding will pay for part of the repairs, which could take up to three months.