Crews Work to Save WWII Destroyer Taking on Water in Buffalo

The vintage ship USS The Sullivans listing to one side.
The vintage ship USS The Sullivans is listing to one side after taking on water overnight, Thursday, April 14, 2022 in Buffalo, N.Y. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)

BUFFALO, N.Y.  — A decommissioned World War II-era destroyer docked near downtown Buffalo in New York was taking on water and listing perilously on Thursday.

Crews were working to keep the USS The Sullivans from sinking at its berth at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, where it had been open for tours.

“We’ve got a committed group down here. We’re not going to give up the ship and failure is not an option,” said park president Paul Marzello.

Marzello said they believe there was a breach on the right side of the hull Wednesday night. He said crews trying to stabilize the 79-year-old vessel are pumping out up to 13,000 gallons (49,210 liters) a minute.

“I think we’ve seen the worst, but I don’t know,” he said.

The USS The Sullivans, a National Historic Landmark, was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa. The brothers were killed in action when the USS Juneau was sunk by the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War II.

More than $1 million was raised last year to repair the ship’s breached hull. Crews paused work over the winter and were to resume repairs Monday, Marzello said.

The USS The Sullivans is one of four decommissioned Naval vessels at the park.

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