Historic WWII Warship Takes On Water In Buffalo Naval Park

[Screenshot/YouTube/Public User: WIVBTV]

Madeline Dovi Contributor
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A decommissioned U.S. Navy destroyer was seen taking on water at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park on Thursday morning, according to local reports.

A “major breach” in the hull of the U.S.S. The Sullivans caused the ship to take on water and begin to partially sink, Naval Park President and CEO Paul Marzello told local radio station WBEN. He said the breach was “aft of midship” and “on the starboard side.”

Crews were at the park Thursday working to pinpoint the cause of the breach and keep the ship above water, local ABC affiliate WKBW reported. The Buffalo Police Department and the Buffalo Fire Department temporarily closed off the naval park to visitors. (RELATED: 60,000-Ton Cargo Ship Carrying 1,100 Luxury Cars Bursts Into Flames, Left Adrift In Atlantic Ocean)

The United States Coast Guard Sector Buffalo stated in a Facebook post that “efforts are ongoing to locate the source of the flooding” and that additional updates would be provided.

“This morning, the USS The Sullivans took on water and is partially sinking due to a major hull breach,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, according to WIVB. “Efforts are underway to evaluate the situation and take appropriate action to preserve this critical piece of our nation’s naval heritage.”

U.S.S. The Sullivans is a nearly 80-year-old warship commissioned during World War II that went on to serve in the Korean War and the Cold War until its decommissioning in 1965, according to WKBW. The ship, which has the distinction of being the only U.S. Navy ship named after more than one person, gets its name from five brothers who were all died during the 1942 sinking of the U.S.S. Juneau, WGRZ reported.

A fundraising campaign called “Save The Sullivans” was launched in 2019 to support repairs and preservation efforts for the ship, according to WIBV. The campaign reportedly raised over $1 million for the Naval Park, with Democratic New York Rep. Brian Higgins saying in early April that additional hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding would be awarded for the effort, WKBW reported.

Progress on repairs to the U.S.S. The Sullivans halted in October 2021 due to water temperature constraints but were reportedly supposed to start up again Monday, according to the outlet.

“This is a sad day for the Naval Park,” Marzello told WBEN. “But we’re never giving up hope …We’re not going to let that ship sink on my watch.”