According to reports, the Navy may be ready to move USS Intrepid from its muddy misery early next month, as it enters the final stages of a dredging operation to free the historic aircraft carrier
Intrepid Foundation officials
obtained a monthlong extension on its federal dredging permit Tuesday from the New York State Department
of Conservation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, enabling the Navy's dredging work to continue uninterrupted in the Hudson River
, according to Bill White
, president of Intrepid Museum Foundation
He said the Navy hoped
to finish the task and get Intrepid under way by early December. Crews were working around the clock, he said.
The famed World War II aircraft carrier
, converted in 1982 to a floating military and space museum, became stuck in the mud Nov. 6 as tugboats attempted to tow it to a New Jersey shipyard for a $60 million refurbishment.
The original dredging permit authorized the Navy to operate until Nov. 27, but divers and underwater surveyors said more time was needed to extract the 27,000-ton ship from thick sediment encasing its four 16-foot propellers, shafts, and rudder. The latest extension expires Dec. 15.
Furthermore, public Pier 86, where Intrepid is moored, is deteriorating rapidly, he said. The pier is to be rebuilt as part of the project.
Approximately 23,000 cubic yards of dredged material have been removed from near the ship's stern.
said Corps of Engineers spokesman
Peter Shugert, with another 14,000 cubic yards of dredge material still to be moved.
On Tuesday, divers reported they could feel around the partially exposed propellers, meaning the mud is sifting away from the hull into a trench dug adjacent to the stern, he said.
The dredged material is being environmentally processed and transported on city barges to the former Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island.
White said contractors are moving as quickly as possible without compromising safety or the environment.
Source: The Day