Branch of Service, Coast Guard, Damage Corrosion of Ship Wrecks on Environment, National Parks Service, Scientific Studies, United States, US Government Administrative Offices

Analyzing Corrosion Rates to Understand Hazards of Wrecked Vessels

An aerial view of the submerged USS Arizona at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham, Hawaii, shows the release of oil from the battleship’s corroding hull. (Photo: National Park Service/Released)

By Cynthia Greenwood
DoD Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office

A tank barge that sank amid rough seas on January 24, 1936, in Long Island Sound carried 500,000 gallons of heating oil. To officials at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the submerged vessel, known as Cities Service Number 4, poses a serious risk of contaminating the tidal estuary should corrosion of the barge structure cause an oil leak.

The hull and rivet structure of Cities Service No. 4 is similar to the Navy battleship USS Arizona, now a hallowed tomb for 1,177 men who died when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Oil still trickles from her damaged hull, which makes the vessel an ideal subject for corrosion rate analysis.

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