Bad month for Submarine Museums
While we have covered these in part in previous years, it looks like time has come and gone for the old HMAS Otama (SS 62/SSG 62), a retired Oberon-class diesel boat of the Royal Australian Navy that was decommissioned 22 years ago, the sisters USS Ling (SS 297) and USS Clamagore (SS-343), Balao-class submarines that, when retired were about the best preserved of their type anywhere in the world.
Otama, still fairly new and in good shape when she was retired after 22 years of service, was grossly neglected and never opened.
People are asking for updates. The best I can tell you is, we are constantly working to see things through. Due to recent circumstances, we could claim ownership of the Ling in about an hour. But, in doing that we could also own the liabilities she has, debts to the city, EPA fines, Bergen County fines, and a bunch of other hidden costs that could hit us should we become the new owners.That said, as I said in another post. Thanks to her being closed up for a year or more now, she is most likely covered in mold. She has her list back, which only tells us that she has settled back in place after the manifold system was stolen and we were unable to continue to blow tanks and exercise ballast tanks.We are cut off from shore. The gangway donated to LNM has fallen into the muck. There is no safe access point to her due to the developers moving on with construction. We had a window, we missed it, they moved on and that does not include the Ling.At this point, I am not sure what can be done. We continue to play cards we are dealt, but there are very few left in the deck. If someone is a lawyer, and willing to pro bono things, we can continue the fight.
Almost scandalously, the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum outside Charleston, South Carolina, which had Clamagore since 1980, has scrapped her in almost total silence and, while there are supposed plans to preserve some of her artifacts in a compartment aboard the poorly preserved old Essex-class carrier USS Yorktown, also run by the organization, it seems like most of her will simply hauled off to the junk yard despite howls from Submarine Vets and those curious who have sought to pick up a small piece for their own collection.