Restoration of the USS COD continues at Donjon Shipbuilding

Local News

The restoration of a maritime celebrity is now full steam ahead at Donjon Shipbuilding.

It’s the first major work on the hull since 1963. The crews are erasing almost 60 years of aging in two months.

One glance and you know this is not ordinary maintenance. the overhaul of the USS COD was expected to be a big job, and it has been.

“It’s been going well. There’s obviously some variables, there’s obviously some obstacles, some unknowns, but we knew going in it wasn’t a standard kind of project we take on here,” said Rick Hammer, General Manager of Donjon Shipbuilding.

“What I am seeing here is similar to what we saw underwater,” said Jason Frank, Chief Diver of the USS COD.

Jason Frank is the lead diver for the USS COD. He has done inspections and repairs on the World War II submarine for fifteen years.

“Now that we’re cutting some of the planting off, we’re actually in the depth of some of the damage that we were not expecting,” said Frank.

The heaviest of the damage is on the waterline. The work is not easy or quick, even the blocks that the ship is perched on are an obstacle.

Just to finish part of the paint job, the drydock will have to be filled so the COD can be moved a couple of feet.

The drydock is then emptied. The process takes about twelve hours and will have to be done twice.

“We’re working on this relic from the past, and if we can do our part to keep her going and lasting quite a bit longer, that’s an honor for us,” said Hammer.

Hammer said that the COD is on schedule to be finished by early next month, but before she goes home the group operating the COD as a national historic landmark hopes to make the sub available for public tours. This will be a way of saying thank you to Erie.

The USS COD Memorial is now looking for a corporate sponsor for those tours. If that happens. the executive director of the Port Authority informed us that there is docking available.

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