Clamagore set for one last cruise
This Friday, 14 October, the former museum ship, ex-USS Clamagore (SS-343), will be towed quietly from her long-time berth at Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum outside Charleston, South Carolina. She will be pulled slowly across 475 miles of coastal waters to Norfolk for recycling.
As noted by the Post & Courier:
The board that oversees stateowned Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum decided earlier this year to dismantle the Clamagore after years of grappling with what to do with the aging sub. The decision followed exploration of “numerous alternatives,” including making it an underwater reef, finding a new home for it and fixing it.
Patriots Point has said repairing the Clamagore would be cost-prohibitive. A 2019 estimate from a marine surveying and consulting company estimated the figure at more than $9 million. Moving it onto dry land also was deemed too expensive. Multiple reefing plans fellthrough.
“Unfortunately, we cannot financially sustain the maintenance of three historic vessels,” Patriots Point said in March after it voted to recycle the sub.
The current $2 million operation included the removal of some 500 dorm refrigerator-sized batteries that have been aboard since the 1950s as well as an extensive amount of fittings and internals, all in an effort to raise her hull as much as possible for her last ride.
Commissioned on 28 June 1945, she was given an extensive GUPPY III conversion in the Cold War– the most advanced type for those old Balao-class boats– and only retired in 1975 after 30 years of service.
She has been at Patriot’s Point since 1981, and, at the time of her arrival there, was widely considered the best preserved American diesel sub afloat.