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.