Navy to dry-dock USS Missouri for first makeover in 11 years


POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For the first time in 11 years, the battleship USS Missouri — now a floating museum — will be towed two miles to Pearl Harbor's dry docks for a $18 million hull-to-mast makeover.

At 7 a.m. today, workmen will cast off the lines from the 887-foot Missouri, where Japan signed the surrender documents in September 1945, ending the Pacific War. The Missouri served in the Korean War, was decommissioned and then pressed back into service for the 1991 Desert Storm campaign.

Two to three tugboats will tow the battleship, now a floating museum, from its berth at Ford Island to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard's Drydock 4. Once in dry dock, the “;Mighty Mo”; will be sandblasted, its hull inspected, and any rusted steel will be replaced and the entire ship repainted.

It will take at least six hours to drain all the water from the dry dock where $40 million worth of work was done on the USS Port Royal, which ran aground off Honolulu Airport in February. The shipyard will use 310 wooden blocks with structural support beams to support the 54,889-ton battleship.

Museum officials hope to have the Missouri's renovations completed by mid-January in time for the 66th anniversary of the battleship's launching from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The last time the battleship was dry-docked was in 1992 at the Long Beach (Calif.) Naval Shipyard as part of its second — and final — decommissioning. A few years later the Navy donated the vessel to the USS Missouri Memorial Association.