Caretakers of a World War II submarine are holding their breath this weekend as their treasured relic prepares for a maintenance stop in Erie on Monday — its first voyage in nearly 60 years.
“Our stress levels are rather high,” said Paul Farace, president of the U.S.S. Cod Submarine Memorial. “Prayers are being said. Fingers are being crossed.”
The U.S.S. Cod, which is docked at Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor, and functions as a floating museum, is slated to depart Sunday via tow around 9 a.m., and arrive for drydocking at Erie’s Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair around 4 a.m. Monday.
‘OK, it’s time’: WWII submarine U.S.S. Cod to be repaired at Erie shipyard
There, workers will install a new underwater hull coating that will remedy the vessel’s pitting, a type of corrosion caused by years of saltwater and freshwater exposure.
While repairs are necessary for the Cod’s longevity, the 102-mile trip to Erie could prove hazardous for the aged vessel, Farace said. The repairs will mark the first drydocking of the Cod since 1963 in Lorain, Ohio.
“Nothing is definite,” Farace said. “Maybe it gets stuck in the mud. We just don’t know.”
Farace added that departure and arrival times for the Cod are still fluid and will depend on how long it takes to hook up the submarine to the tugboat, weather conditions and its overall condition as it moves.
The submarine will be towed by Michigan-based Malcolm Marine Inc. The repairs at Donjon are expected to last six weeks.
A tall ship returns
After completing a two-and-a-half week visit to Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland, the Lettie G. Howard is expected to return to Erie on Saturday.
Flagship docked: U.S. Brig Niagara won’t sail this year.
The vessel received routine maintenance, including an out-of-the-water inspection, painting, caulking and servicing of the ship’s propellers and hull fittings.
Public day sails are scheduled to resume on June 25 and will include special excursions for 8 Great Tuesdays and Boom Over the Bay. Sails will comply with all public health and masking requirements currently in place, and enhanced cleaning procedures will be in effect.
Tickets will be available at sailfnl.org.