Photos: Battleship USS Texas Transits to Galveston for Drydocking

Courtesy Houston County Sheriff's Office

Published Aug 31, 2022 9:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

The storied battleship USS Texas has completed her short voyage to the Gulf Copper shipyard in Galveston for much-needed hull repairs. The venerable ship's hull has known leaks after 108 years on the water, and the transit was carefully managed and monitored.

The battleship made the trip with four tug escorts, a dive support vessel and a U.S. Coast Guard escort for good measure. She departed her permanent berth in San Jacinto before dawn, towed south at a steady pace of about three knots. The voyage was uneventful and she arrived at Gulf Copper in the mid-afternoon. Hundreds of well-wishers lined up to greet her on arrival in Galveston, and additional vessels followed her as she made her rare voyage. 

USS Texas is the only battleship left afloat that served during both world wars. Commissioned in 1914, she served on escort duty through WWI. During WWII, she served in both the Pacific and the Atlantic theaters, providing shore bombardment with her 14-inch guns during the landings in Morocco, Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa - that is, most of the major amphibious operations of the war. 

USS Texas retired at the end of the war, and she has been in the care of the State of Texas' Battleship Texas Commission since 1947. In recent years, USS Texas has often had to run her bilge pumps at a high rate because of water ingress and hull deterioration, a common problem for aging museum ships. (The decommissioned destroyer USS The Sullivans nearly sank at the pier earlier this year due to pinhole leaks in deteriorating hull plating.) As a preventive measure, salvors installed extra pumps in the ship before the transit, and all watertight hatches were closed before getting under way. 

The project has been a long time coming. Gulf Copper won the contract to carry out the repairs for USS Texas, and it needed another drydock to do the work. Instead of buying or building new, the yard purchased part of a used floating drydock from Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS). It was repaired and towed to Texas, arriving in June. Now that USS Texas has been successfully floated aboard, work can begin.