I have seen this sub and toured it in person and was amazed at the cramped quarters our Navy personnel had to work in while this sub was in service. Four engines sit in the middle of the sub with a very narrow center walkway to get around them. I could only imagine the smell of the engines, the heat they gave off and the noise of those monsters. I had a new idea of what it was like to be underwater with such cramped quarters! If you are in the area this and the aircraft carrier moored by it are the two best naval experiences I have ever witnessed. USS Clamagore in Charleston
Recently, we caught wind of the planned sinking of the USS Clagamore as an artificial reef. The 1945 built Balao-class submarine has been an exhibit at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston, SC since 1981, but the museum says that the submarine has become too costly to maintain. While the submarine may be expensive to maintain, sinking it as a reef is not cheap, either. Funding of $2.7 million has been set aside to strip the submarine Clamagore of all environmental pollutants.
Now, a group of retired submariners is suing the museum to stop the reefing of the historic submarine, arguing that the museum lacks the authority to sink the sub and that they have a less costly proposal to save it.
As reported by USNI News: The all-volunteer USS Clamagore SS-343 Restoration and Maintenance Association say, according to a 1979 agreement transferring Clamagore to the state, the sub can’t be sunk without approval from the Secretary of the Navy. Plus, the volunteers are arguing in court they have a better plan to preserve the sub.
For a fraction of the price it will cost to sink Clamagore, the volunteers say they can bring the boat to a nearby drydock, have its hull repaired, according to their lawsuit filed earlier this week in a Charleston County, S.C., court.
“Detyens Shipyards, Inc. has estimated it will only cost $300,000 to transport the submarine to North Charleston, dry dock it, clean, repair and preserve the complete hull,” the volunteers’ lawsuit states.
Their goal is to move Clamagore for display ashore near the H.L. Hunley museum housing the Confederate submarine in North Charleston, S.C., according to the group’s website.
Clamagore was originally a Balao-class submarine, launched from Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., during the closing days of World War II. In 1948 the sub underwent a greater underwater propulsion program, or GUPPY, upgrade. At first, Clamagore was a GUPPY II and then a GUPPY III when a 15-foot section was added to accommodate new technology, according to U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. For most of its service, Clamagore nicknamed the “Gray Ghost of the Florida Coast” operated in the Atlantic and Caribbean