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BUFFALO, N.Y. — A decommissioned World War II-era destroyer, named after the Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, docked near downtown Buffalo in New York is taking on water and listing perilously but officials believed it would be saved.
Crews were working to keep the USS The Sullivans from sinking at its berth at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, where it had been open for tours.
“We’ve got a committed group down here. We’re not going to give up the ship and failure is not an option,” said park president Paul Marzello.
Marzello said they believe there was a breach on the right side of the hull last Wednesday night. He said crews trying to stabilize the 79-year-old vessel are pumping out up to 13,000 gallons a minute. Emergency repair crews, including an underwater diving team, are at the scene working to determine what caused the breach.
“I think we’ve seen the worst, but I don’t know,” he said.
Marzello, according to the Buffalo News, said that the park has received “a lot of inspirational messages from people around the country and other countries” and that the “ship will rise again.”
The USS The Sullivans, a National Historic Landmark, was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo. The brothers were killed in action when the USS Juneau was sunk by the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War II.
More than $1 million was raised last year to repair the ship’s breached hull. Repairs to the ship were in progress, but were paused in October. The naval park says water must be at least 54 degrees Fahrenheit for the epoxy used in repairs to adhere to the steel of the ship.
In March 2021, Kelly Sullivan, granddaughter and grandniece of the Sullivan brothers, was in Buffalo, N.Y., at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park to lend her support at the launching of that $1 million fundraising campaign.
The USS The Sullivans is one of four decommissioned Naval vessels at the park.