BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — USS The Sullivans, a decommissioned U.S. Navy Fletcher-class destroyer, appeared to partially sink at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park on the Buffalo waterfront Thursday morning.
USS The Sullivans was seen listing heavily on its starboard side and sitting lower in the water than usual.
Naval fleet management reports that a major breach in the hull caused the vessel to take on water.
Bidco Marine Group emergency repair crews, including an underwater driving team, are on scene to determine the cause of the breach. Another crew is pumping water onto the deck.
Naval Park says the breach is aft of amidships on the starboard side, causing the vessel to heel aft and to the right.
City and county workers are also involved in assessing and mitigating the situation.
USS The Sullivans was commissioned in 1943 and operated in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It is named after five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa. It is the only United States Navy ship to have ever been named for more than one person. It was decommissioned in 1965 and has been in Buffalo since 1977.
In 2018, 7 News reported that the USS The Sullivans was sinking due to a crack in its hull. In 2019, a fundraising campaign was launched to repair the ship.
Last year, 4-year-old Arrow Swartwout started collecting money to repair the ship.
Earlier this month, Congressman Brian Higgins announced $490,000 in federal funding would be added to support preservation and repairs.
Repairs to the ship were underway but were halted in October last year. The Naval Park says the water must be at least 54 degrees Fahrenheit for the epoxy used in repairs to bond to the ship’s steel. Repairs were due to resume on Monday.
No visitors will be allowed on any of the park’s vessels on Thursday.
It is unclear whether Thursday morning’s incident caused further damage to the vessel.