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Mark Gregory

Would Battleship Steel sitting in salt water for 75 years be any good

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I saw an article where they are removing steel from sunken Battleships in the South Pacific . I always thought the salt and a Marine growth would make the steel worthless . The biggest insult is that I always thought this was untouchable as it was war related . I had an Uncle go down on a Corvette in WW2 and I would not want someone touching his ship .

 

 

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With the price of scrap so low,  why would you salvage it from a location hard to retrieve when you can walk the brush line of almost every old especially abandoned farm and find lots of it still?  They didn't say what scrap was being removed.  Brass and copper might be a little different,  but steel and iron?

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The metal underneath the corrosion is unaffected. If it's being reclaimed it's likely a profitable enterprise. The question of it being legal or "right"  would, to me, depend on the circumstances. We read of war planes being raised from the deep or hacked out of the jungle and restored. The USS Monitor was raised, admittedly not for scrap, complete with some crewmen's remains.

I guess when you get down to it a lot depends on the motive for the salvage. Doing it with respect and to further understanding doesn't bother me. Crude salvage for profit does...............Bob

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I watched in shock when they dry docked in Baltimore the USS Coral Sea and took years cutting it up for scrap, around 1998-2000.

My Carrier was the USS Oriskany that I served on during Vietnam and she was saved from scrapping to become a Fishing and Diving Reef sunk intentionally off of Florida in the Golf. I try to think of it as a Sea Burial and a better way to honor Her. 

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To this day, the German ships scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1918, at the end of WWI, are mined for steel used to make extremely sensitive scientific instruments for the measurement of radiation. It is one of the few sources of high grade steel in the world that is known (and can be documented) to have been removed from the atmosphere before the advent of the nuclear age... and, of course, the ships are right offshore, the water isn't terribly deep and no one was aboard when they went down.

Edited by JV Puleo
extra word removed (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, Mark Gregory said:

I saw an article where they are removing steel from sunken Battleships in the South Pacific . I always thought the salt and a Marine growth would make the steel worthless . The biggest insult is that I always thought this was untouchable as it was war related . I had an Uncle go down on a Corvette in WW2 and I would not want someone touching his ship .

 

 

 

Haven't seen anything in our news about that one, strange given that it was one of ours that went down.

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JV Puleo I heard that all the radiation from the 1950's tests fell all over the place and in the iron ore mines . Know they can tell by the amount of radiation in the steel when it was made for example 1950's , less in the 1970's . I did know about the steel under the water protecting it from radiation .

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, JV Puleo said:

To this day, the German ships scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1918, at the end of WWI, are mined for steel used to make extremely sensitive scientific instruments for the measurement of radiation. It is one of the few sources of high grade steel in the world that is known (and can be documented) to have been removed from the atmosphere before the advent of the nuclear age... and, of course, the ships are right offshore, the water isn't terribly deep and no one was aboard when they went down.

Wow. Fascinating. 

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Would Battleship Steel sitting in salt water for 75 years be any good?
 
 Well if you were restoring a battleship with a hole in the bottom, I suppose it would come in handy!  (;-)

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They have been salvaging scrap iron in the Pacific since the end of WW2. At first a lot of it was guns, jeeps, pots and pans etc dumped at the end of the war but they have scrapped some ships too.

 

One guy who made his fortune diving for scrap, later salvaged the Geldermalson and other ancient shipwrecks was Michael Hatcher. But there were many others doing the same thing.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hatcher

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The steel is not the main target. They are after the bronze and brass fittings. The propellers are the most valuable parts. The steel is just a byproduct that they can still get some money out of, much like gas and kerosene/diesel.

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This may give insight to the legality of taking any part of a war ship from beneath the sea. 

 

President Clinton's Statement on United States Policy for the Protection of Sunken Warships (January 19, 2001) succinctly sums up the issue of sovereign immunity:

"Pursuant to the property clause of Article IV of the Constitution, the United States retains title indefinitely to its sunken State craft unless title has been abandoned or transferred in the manner Congress authorized or directed. The United States recognizes the rule of international law that title to foreign sunken State craft may be transferred or abandoned only in accordance with the law of the foreign flag state."

Since sunken U.S. Navy vessels are federal property, according to U.S. Code (18 U.S.C. 641), technically no portion of a government wreck may be disturbed or removed, and any unauthorized removal of any property from a U.S. Navy wreck is illegal.

 

rightfully so as any fallen service personnel is a hero in my book 

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1 hour ago, SC38DLS said:

This may give insight to the legality of taking any part of a war ship from beneath the sea. 

 

President Clinton's Statement on United States Policy for the Protection of Sunken Warships (January 19, 2001) succinctly sums up the issue of sovereign immunity:

"Pursuant to the property clause of Article IV of the Constitution, the United States retains title indefinitely to its sunken State craft unless title has been abandoned or transferred in the manner Congress authorized or directed. The United States recognizes the rule of international law that title to foreign sunken State craft may be transferred or abandoned only in accordance with the law of the foreign flag state."

Since sunken U.S. Navy vessels are federal property, according to U.S. Code (18 U.S.C. 641), technically no portion of a government wreck may be disturbed or removed, and any unauthorized removal of any property from a U.S. Navy wreck is illegal.

 

rightfully so as any fallen service personnel is a hero in my book 

 

It's not a US ship in the article so it wouldn't apply in this case but we would have something similar

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It depends on the country -- read last sentence. Most countries adhere to this law also. Admittedly some don't or you may be able to get permission.  I still think it is a desiccation. 

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Being underwater keeps the oxygen away and metal as well as wood holds up for a long time. In the 1800's wooden cargo ships on the New York Finger Lakes were were sunk during the winter to prevent dry rot, surfaced in the spring for shipping season.

 

I am not far from the Genesee Valley Canal remains. Many of the submerged wooden culverts are still in fine shape since the 1800's. That was one of many, ongoing, failed economic development projects of the NYS southern tier.

 

Bernie

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