USS Texas battleship begins voyage for $35m repairs

The only surviving First and Second World War battleship has been towed to a dry dock in Galveston, Texas, in order to undergo a $35m makeover.

Crowds lined the Houston Ship Channel on Wednesday as the 110-year-old USS Texas made its way to Galveston for extensive repair works from its home in the Houston suburb of La Porte.

According to its owners, the century-old ship will see vast repair work to solve leaks in the hull of the ship, which is known to require workers to remove about 2,000 gallons (7,570 litres) of water per minute while moving.

Once repair works are completed, it is expected to be homed in a new location in Texas where it will be able to take visitors onboard, explained president of the Battleship Texas Foundation Tony Gregory as per the Associated Press.

Mr Gregory said the towing operation went more smoothly than he had expected on early Wednesday morning, with the ship now on a nine hour journey to Galveston.

“It went smoother than we thought and quicker than we thought ... and she’s gone, down the channel,” he said.

Notably, the operation is not risk-free. There’s a chance the museum ship could sink on its way to Galveston if it takes on too much water.

Visitors have been unable to visit the USS Texas, which is also known as Battleship Texas, for the last three years in order for staff to prepare for the moving operation and repair work, which was approved by the state legislature in 2019.

Since 1948, the ship has been located at the state historic site where the decisive battle in the Texas Revolution was fought. There, it’s served as a museum and tourist attraction.

“It’s amazing to see a ship that’s 100 years old out on the water again, moving like she did for so many years. It was exciting,” spectator Tricia Thomas, who lives in the Houston suburb of Kingwood and watched the vessel pass, told the Associated Press.

The ship was previously taken to the same shipyard in Galveston for repairs in 1988.