Tag Archive | museum ship

Last of the Yarrow diesel tin cans gets a reprieve

Just after VE-Day, the Royal Navy was able to skate on WWII production destroyers for a while, but by the early 1950s, it was realized that more…um…economical vessels could take up the slack that didn’t require fully-armed 30+ knot greyhounds to accomplish. Roles like ocean surveillance, escorting amphibious task forces and convoys could be filled by a reasonably seaworthy tin can of some 100m in length who, outfitted with a number of fuel-sipping diesels, could run on the cheap and at a lower speed than that needed by HMs carriers. Enter the Type 61 (Salisbury) and Type 41 (Leopard) class vessels.

First of the line, laid down in 1951, the Salisbury-class frigate HMS Salisbury (F32), seen here 5 December 1974. She would later be sold to Egypt and, after that deal was canceled Sale to Egypt canceled whilst on the delivery trip, was retained by the RN as a harbor training ship Devonport. She was later sunk as a target, 30 September 1985. Image via IWM http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205396006

Preceding the 27 iconic Leander-class frigates (which were 113.4m long and used steam turbines), it was planned to have 15 or 16 Salisbury/Leopards in service both with the RN and allied Commonwealth nations.

In the end, three of the planned ships– Exeter, Gloucester, and Coventry— were canceled post-Suez in favor of building more Leanders while another three went to India. The RN kept the rest around well into the late 1970s when they were scrapped or sold abroad (HMS Lynx went to Bangladesh who continued to use her until 2013 while the same country had ex-HMS Llandaff in inventory until 2016).

The last of these still afloat, was a kind of one-off design based on the Type 41/61 to be named the Black Star. Ordered specifically for the government of Ghana– the first British possession in Africa to gain independence– in 1964, she was completed by 1967 but languished at Yarrow Shipbuilders on the River Clyde in Scotland, with an unpaid balance and the regime that ordered her overthrown. Finally, in 1971, some £3,803,148 in outstanding loans made by the Crown to Ghana for the ship’s construction were written off and the ship was absorbed the next year by the Royal Navy, commissioning after modifications 16 May 1973 as HMS Mermaid (F76), the 16th such vessel to carry the moniker.

Mermaid saw brief and interesting service in the Cod Wars with Iceland– ramming and being rammed by Icelandic Coast Guard cutters.

The UK frigate HMS Mermaid collides with the Icelandic Coast Guard Vessel Thor in March 1976, in one of the incidents in the Cod Wars between the two countries. At the time she was one of the few frigates still in the RN with a twin QF 4 inch Mk XVI gun mount, designed in WWII. 

Tragically, just after a NATO exercise, Mermaid sank the wooden-hulled Ton-class minesweeper HMS Fittleton (M1136) during what should have been a routine mail transfer at sea, which resulted in the death of 12, the worst peacetime accident involving the Royal Naval Reserve.

After just four years service with the RN, Mermaid was transferred to the Royal Malaysian Navy in April 1977 to replace a 1944-vintage Loch-class frigate. Commissioned by the RMN as KD Hang Tuah (with the same pennant number), she has been on active duty ever since.

As reported by The New Straits Times, Tuah, now 45 with over 250K miles on her hull, is set for retirement and will be turned into a naval museum.

The transformation of the ship into a museum will be done through collaboration between Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) Sdn Bhd and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

KD Hang Tuah, ex-HMS Mermaid, ex-Black Star, soon to be museum ship. Note, her 4-incher was replaced by a more modern 57mm Bofors in 1992

A Libyan dream, by way of Cork

The Libyan National Army (LNA) has taken delivery of the flagship Al-Karama (Dignity) offshore patrol vessel, the former Irish vessel LÉ Aisling.

The LNA released a video on May 17 showing the arrival of the vessel at Benghazi naval base. It was welcomed by the head of the Libyan navy, Commodore Faraj Al-Mahdawi Al-Tarhouni, military advisor Major General Abdullah Aoun and other dignitaries.

The Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, controls much of eastern Libya and named the new vessel after the operation to secure Benghazi in 2014.

“The arrival of this vessel is a qualitative leap for our fleet and another success of our armed forces added to the chain of successes locally and internationally,” the LNA said, adding the vessel would be used to protect Libya’s territorial waters and fight against terrorism, human trafficking and illegal immigration.

LÉ Aisling was built in Ireland in 1979 and from 1980 was in Irish Naval Service as a patrol vessel until decommissioned in June 2016. It was sold to Dutch broker Dick van der Kamp for 110,000 euros in March 2017 at auction and subsequently offered for resale for 685,000 euros. The vessel sailed over 625,000 nautical miles during its years of active service.

According to IHS Jane’s, the Aisling was re-registered by Universal Satcom Services FZE based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April. It sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar at the beginning of May on its delivery voyage.

The Emer-class offshore patrol vessel is 214-feet long and displaces 1,020 tons. Top speed is 16kts and crew complement is 46. It appears she was delivered to Libya without weapons, although the latter have many at hand they could equip her with.

Named after a style of visionary dream poem, the former Irish Navy’s offshore patrol vessel was built at Verolme Cork Dockyard (and the last greyhull to leave that yard).

Armed with a single 40mm Bofors L70, a couple of 20mm GAMBO cannon and some 7.62mm GPMGs, Aisling made a name for herself in a running battle with the Spanish fishing trawler Sonia (330-tons) in 1984, firing 600~ rounds in warning shots while the Spanish vessel attempted repeatedly to ram. Sonia later sank after Aisling broke contact.

The same year she captured the trawler, Marita Ann, sailing with 160 guns (including some stolen M2 Brownings via National Guard armories) and 71,000 rounds of ammo aboard rumored to have been sent to the IRA by connections of Whitey Bulger.

She also responded to the Air India Flight 182 disaster and others lost at sea.

Class leader LÉ Emer (P21) commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as a training ship and renamed NNS Prosperity in 2015 after a Nigerian businessman’s scheme to use her as a personal yacht fell through. Sister LÉ Aoife (P22) was donated to Malta as P62 in 2015 to help that country pluck migrant refugees from the Med. The half-sister and prototype to the Emer-class, the one-off LÉ Deirdre (P20), was stricken in 2003 and, after a career as a yacht, was scrapped in Florida in 2014.

When you visit just 1 museum ship, you visit many

Floating museum ships around the world take to searching for missing parts and items from their vessel as they often received the ship after decades in mothballs where they were cannibalized to keep units still in the fleet “in the fight.” Others had equipment stripped from them before transfer.

This leaves museums looking for parts from all over.

I know on a visit to the USS Alabama (BB-60) I found Dutch Navy-marked 20mm cannon components. On visiting the USCGC Ingham, there is an amalgam of other 327′ Treasury-class cutters as well as gear from across the Coast Guard. On visiting the USS Kidd (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, they have an unrestored compartment they will show you that illustrates how the ship was received in 1982 after sitting in mothballs for 20 years.

This week the volunteers of the museum ship USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr (DD-850), decommissioned 2 July 1973, detailed some of the work put in to “Joey P” over the past several years in scouring other tin cans coming up for dismantling or destruction to salvage what they could to make the old Gearing-class destroyer a more complete specimen of her species. The donors range from Fletchers and Shermans to Adams and Farragut-class guided missile destroyers.

ex-USS Barney (DDG-6), moored along two mothballed FFG7s. Barney decommissioned 17 December 1990 after 28 years of service and was sold for scrapping in 2006.

From the group:

As early as 2001, much of the original items needed were missing to make her the period authentic display she is in 2017. Two main groups, the 1970s and the 2000s team have acquired just about all that she needed. From Mexico, California, Virginia, and Pennsylvania came literally tons of equipment from DASH drones to sound powered phone handset cradles. Our crew removed items with respect and honor to those who served on the ships we removed the items from. The history of these ships live on today.. Here is a list of some of the destroyer types ships we acquired items from or a part originally came from:

USS Nicholas DD449
USS The Sullivans DD537
USS Caperton DD650
USS Van Valkenburgh DD656
USS William M. Wood DD715
USS William C. Lawe DD763
USS McKean DD784
USS Basilone DD824
USS Myles C Fox DD829
USS George K. Mackenzie DD836
USS Glennon DD840
USS Perry DD844
USS Robert L. Wilson DD847
USS Harwood DD861
USS Steinaker DD863
USS Stribling DD867
USS Brownson DD868
USS Newman K. Perry DD883
USS Orleck DD886
USS Forrest Sherman DD931
USS Barry DD933
USS Bigelow DD942
USS Radford DD968
USS Peterson DD969
USS Caron DD970
USS Briscoe DD977
USS Connolly DD979
USS John Rodger DD983
USS Thorn DD988
USS Lawrence DDG-4
USS Claude Ricketts DDG-5
USS Barney DDG-6
USS Sampson DDG-10
USS Sellers DDG-11
USS Farragut DDG-37
USS Luce DDG-38
USS Macdonough DDG-39
USS Dahlgren DDG-43

And that’s just the destroyers, the group says they have another list of auxiliaries and cruisers they have been able to salvage gear from.

A dream no more

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO's Via Shipspotting http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=178486

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO’s Via Shipspotting http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=178486

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Btw.

Named after a style of visionary dream poem, the former Irish Navy’s Emer-class 1,000-ton offshore patrol vessel LÉ Aisling (P23) will be put up for auction at the Carrigaline Court Hotel on March 23rd where Cork auctioneer Dominic Daly will seek to obtain the best price for the State for the ship.

One of four Irish Naval Services ships to be built at Verolme Cork Dockyard (and the last greyhull to leave that yard), LÉ Aisling commissioned in 1980 and was stricken last June after over 35 years of service.

Armed with a single 40mm Bofors L70, a couple of 20mm GAMBO cannon and some 7.62mm GPMGs, Aisling made a name for herself in a running battle with the Spanish fishing trawler Sonia (330-tons) in 1984, firing 600~ rounds in warning shots while the Spanish vessel attempted repeatedly to ram. Sonia later sank after Aisling broke contact.

The same year she captured the trawler Marita Ann, sailing with 160 guns (including some stolen M2 Brownings via National Guard armories) and 71,000 rounds of ammo aboard rumored to have been sent to the IRA by connections of Whitey Bulger.

She also responded to the Air India Flight 182 disaster and others lost at sea.

The 214-foot Aisling reportedly put in 628,856 nautical miles in her 35 years and thought was given to making her a museum ship, though that has apparently fallen through.

She is the last of her class in Ireland.

Class leader LÉ Emer (P21) commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as a training ship and renamed NNS Prosperity in 2015 after a Nigerian businessman’s scheme to use her as a personal yacht fell through. Sister LÉ Aoife (P22) was donated to Malta in 2015 to help that country pluck migrant refugees from the Med. The half-sister and prototype to the Emer-class, the one-off Deirdre (P20), was stricken in 2003 and, after a career as a yacht, was scrapped in Florida in 2014.

Quite a beard you have there, Turner Joy

The museum ship ex-USS Turner Joy (DD-951) in dry dock at Lake Union Dry Dock Company, Seattle, WA. for the first time in 16 years as part of a $800,000 refit.

turner-joy-in-dry-dock-at-lake-union-for-first-time-in-16-years
More here

Museum ships don’t age well

Constructed of steel by the lowest bidder, warships have a finite lifespan, especially when semi-preserved as museum ships.

In Florida, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted to use $1 million in funds to jump-start a project to sink the Balao-class submarine USS Clamagore (SS-343) about a mile off the coast of Juno Beach. She is the only known surviving example of a GUPPY type submarine

According to the Sun Sentinel, the WWII submarine has been at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum near Charleston, S.C. since 1981 and needs a $6 million refirb to keep her there, and annual upkeep of $250,000. Turning her into a reef is cheaper.

In South Korea, the Gearing-class destroyer ex-USS William R. Rush (DD-714), transferred in 1978 under the terms of the Security Assistance Program as ROKS Kang Won (DD-922), arrived at Busan Dadaepo port for dismantling last month after 16 years as a pier-side museum ship.

Rush

Rush, soon to be recycled.

This leaves Eversole, Everett Larson, Sarsfield, Rogers, Orleck, and J. P. Kennedy of that class still afloat.

Meanwhile, in Bremerton, the museum ship USS Turner Joy (DD-951) is set to get an $800,000 spruce up in dry dock. A Forrest Sherman-class destroyer decommissioned in 1982, Turner Joy gave a lot of hard service in Vietnam and can use the TLC. (Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)

(Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)

Aries may soon ride again

Back in the 1970s Adm. Elmo Zumwalt came up with the idea that flotillas of small, fast attack craft could help control the coastal littoral in time of war. Used in places like the Baltic and Scandinavian, they could blunt potential Soviet Red Banner fleet amphibious operations if the balloon went up.

The only outcome of this was the six pack of Pegasus-class hydrofoils. Termed “PHM” (Patrol, Hydrofoil, Missile) these stubby 133-foot craft could zip at 51-knots when wide open and, using a Mk 92 fire control system, fire off eight Harpoons and a Mk 75 76mm OTO Melara main gun with a crew of just 21 men (skippered by a LCDR!).

USS Aries (PHM-5) back in her fighting trim

USS Aries (PHM-5) back in her fighting trim

The PHMs were home-ported in Key West, Fla. as Patrol Combatant Missile Hydrofoil Squadron TWO, but were decommissioned as a class on 30 July 1993 after just a decade of service that included a lot of USCG missions and regular UNITAS exercises among others.

The Boeing-built craft were all named after Greek mythological figures: USS Pegasus (PHM 1), USS Hercules (PHM 2), USS Taurus (PHM 3), USS Aquila (PHM 4), USS Aries (PHM-5) and USS Gemini (PHM-6).

Bought back in 1996 for $20,000, sans armament and most of her neat-o gear but still with her propulsion and hydrofoils still largely intact, ex-Aries is the only one of her class saved from the scrapper as a museum ship in Missouri.

Aries at Gasconade Shipyard, looking very neutered (via Waterways Journal)

Aries as she appears today at Gasconade Shipyard, looking very neutered (via Waterways Journal)

Now, after a 20-year saga, the last U.S. Navy PHM will soon be used as both a museum ship and training vessel for The Maritime Academy of Toledo as well as the Ohio Naval Militia.

From Waterways Journal:

After spending 18 years docked on the Grand River at Brunswick, Mo., the former Navy hydrofoil USS Aries is slowly coming back to life.

A group of volunteers from the Ohio Navy and the barge industry have been working on the Cold War naval ship since last November at the Gasconade (Mo.) Shipyard, restoring it for future use as a 21st century maritime training vessel.

The Aries remains tied off at the shipyard at the mouth of the Gasconade River, just up from the wine-laden town of Hermann, Mo., until May 2017, when it is hoped that the ship can be moved under its own power to Cairo, Ill., for drydocking. The Aries would then travel north on the Ohio River to Hebron, Ky., in June for final renovations.

The Rev. Kempton D. Baldridge, chaplain for the Ohio River Region with the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), Paducah, Ky., said a week-long cadet orientation will likely take place onboard in late July, with a recommissioning ceremony tentatively scheduled for July 30 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Baldridge, who briefly served on the Aries and its five sister ships in the ‘80s as a Navy Reserve chaplain, has helped the Ohio Navy—an organized, all-volunteer unit that has been serving the State of Ohio and the nation since 1896—rehab the vessel by making connections in the marine industry, raising funds and lending a physical hand during the process.

“The day after Aries observes its recommissioning, the vessel will help commemorate the 120th anniversary of the first Ohio Navy training cruise, with a two-week, 902-mile river circuit from Cincinnati to East Liverpool, Ohio, and return,” said Baldridge. “Aries’ crew, which will include a dozen or so maritime cadets, would transit all nine of Ohio’s locks and dams twice, once northbound and once southbound. At least that’s the plan as it stands now.”

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