USS COD Dry Docked for Repairs
After a 14-hour-long trip and a few bumps along the way, the World War II Submarine USS COD finally arrived in Erie, Pennsylvania, for dry docking and repairs.
The rehabilitation is a first for the vessel since 1963.
About USS COD
Commissioned on June 21, 1943, the USS COD was constructed using both engines and steel for its hull from Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh. At the time, the United States built 270 submarines much like the COD, which was named for the fish.
Over the course of its service, the USS COD traveled more than 88,000 miles and fired 122 torpedoes, hitting 39 vessels and sinking 12 ships.
From 1959-71, the USS COD served as a Navy training vessel in Cleveland. In 1986, the vessel was deemed a floating museum and a national historic landmark.
The USS COD is one of roughly 15 remaining American World War II submarines.
Leaving its longtime home in Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor, the USS COD was scheduled to depart for Erie, Pennsylvania, in mid-June—the first trip for the submarine in nearly 60 years.
“Our stress levels are rather high,” said Paul Farace, President of the USS Cod Submarine Memorial prior to the 102-mile trip. “Prayers are being said. Fingers are being crossed.”
For the journey, the USS COD was towed by a tugboat owned by Michigan-based Malcolm Marine Inc., which was assisted by the John Francis. However, not without a bit of excitement. On the morning of the vessel’s trip, the skipper of the inoperable submarine placed a call to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Concerned about “congestion” in the harbor, the skipper was reported to be primarily concerned about the USCG Morro Bay cutter. Despite suggestions to have the Morro Bay moved so that the USS COD could be better maneuvered, it inevitably struck the cutter, causing superficial damage to both boats, according to the Dayton Daily News.
Spokesperson for the Coast Guard’s 9th District Headquarters in Cleveland, Lt. Paul Rhynard reported that although the skipper’s call was received by the Coast Guard’s rescue station, it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the cutters. Additionally, while the request was then passed along via email, the commanding officer did not see it until the following day after the incident.
An investigation into the collision is being conducted by the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit.
Thankfully, the damages were not enough to postpone the USS COD’s planned repairs. Following the incident, the vessel was towed to Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair.
On the job, Rick Hammer, General Manager of Donjon Shipbuilding said, “This is a extremely rare opportunity for us, there’s not many WWII subs, and certainly not many WWII subs here on the Great Lakes. So this is a one off opportunity and we jumped at that opportunity to be able to help repair and make some improvements to this museum and keep it going to be able to share some of our naval heritage.”
Maintenance and Repairs
While having arrived with some additional bumps and scrapes, the USS COD was originally slated to be dry docked and repairs as its steel was beginning to deteriorate and cause pitting—a type of corrosion commonly found from extended exposure to both salt and fresh water.
Slated to last six to eight weeks, Donjon Shipbuilding plans to replace corroded steel located on the bottom of the submarine’s hull. This will then be followed by a protective coating application supplied by Sherwin-Williams.
Prior to launching rehabilitation work, Donjon Shipbuilding reports that it will dewater the dock so that the submarine can be set down on blocks.
“The COD came in, obviously we’re anticipating some shell repair, some steal plate is wasted away and that will be replaced new plate. We’re also going to put a couple of coats of paint on it,” said Hammer. “As far as the general public, this is a private facility so not at this location, but hopefully, maybe in the Erie area.”
The Cleveland Coordinating Committee for COD is using a $395,000 grant from the National Park Service, along with donations and fees collected over the years, to complete the work, which is expected to exceed $1 million.