Thursday, June 19, 2008

US Navy To Raise Sunken Russian Sub

Providence, Rhode Island's sunken Russian submarine will finally be raised as part of a training exercise by the US Navy. The sub, which was used in a Harrison Ford movie and served as a floating museum on the Providence waterfront, has been underwater for a year after sinking during a storm. Unfortunately, it looks like its days as a museum may be over. The Providence Journal has details:

Next week, a team of Army and Navy salvage divers will pull the sunken Juliett 484 upright using heavy machinery. Once the sub is standing straight, they expect to raise it out of the water, probably on July 15.

While it’s a great training exercise for the military’s salvage divers, they may be among the last people who will ever set foot inside the Russian sub; its days as a museum boat are likely over, thanks to the rust and growth inside. They won’t know for sure until the submarine is refloated.

“If it’s in really bad shape, we have to be realistic, it’s been underwater for a year,” said Frank Lennon, president of the USS Saratoga Foundation, which operates the museum.

There’s still a chance the submarine could be restored, but that would likely be too expensive for the foundation. It’s possible that it could be beached somewhere, or that the military could have a hand in restoring it, but it’s equally likely it could end up as scrap, or sunken again to serve as an underwater reef.

One thing is certain: the Russian sub museum at Collier Point Park is a thing of the past. “That is not an option,” Lennon said.

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