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Opinion letter: Fall River resident expresses concern over condition of ship at Battleship Cove

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To Whom It May Concern:

“I would like to submit (a tip) regarding the decaying state of one of Battleship Cove’s most unique and fascinating attractions. While most of Fall River’s residents take this museum for granted, they are probably unaware of a piece of military history that has fallen into a depressing, neglected form of its former self. While Battleship Cove had the opportunity to save this vessel, it chose to ignore the issues it faced, leading to an unfortunate and unknown fate for this memorable ship that continues to deteriorate in the Taunton River.”

“Built in 1984, the Soviet corvette Hiddensee served in both the Soviet Union and East German navies before coming into the possession of the United States Navy in 1991. From then, it helped seamen perform training exercises and learn about Soviet naval technology until 1996, when the ship was decommissioned and became a part of Battleship Cove’s historic fleet. While dozens of visitors flock from all around the country to observe this vessel in the flesh, as it is one of only a few such ships on public display in the world, they have been met with disappointment and melancholy upon witnessing what remains of such an interesting and historic ship.”

“In December 2021, the bridge connecting the Hiddensee to its neighboring vessel, the Balao Class submarine USS Lionfish, collapsed. Rather than adequately fix this bridge, thus allowing museum patrons to board and explore this vessel, management simply blocked off the area where this bridge stood. After this, museum visitors could only view this ship, completely unaware of its continued demise.”

“In February 2022, a keen observer noticed that the bow of the Hiddensee was significantly lower in the water than it usually was, and the ship exhibited a list forward. The stern was partially up in the air, with its keel visible above the waterline, and speculation arose regarding whether the ship was sinking. Upon close examination by Battleship Cove staff and volunteers, three rooms below the main decks were found to be flooded, and massive holes in the forward hull were visible. Staff worked tirelessly for days around the clock to pump water out of these rooms out of the ship, and this water was discharged over the port side of the vessel to not give the appearance of anything being wrong from observers at Bicentennial Park. Water was also moved to rooms more aft of the flooded areas of the ship to level it out and make it appear as if it was not listing as the result of flooding in its forward section. After this situation, no effort has been made to restore the ship to a state worthy of public visitation and exploration.”

“In October 2022, Battleship Cove’s board of directors voted to remove the Hiddensee from its collection of historic Naval vessels. A plan to dispose of the ship was created, which included cleaning sea life off of the ship’s hull and towing it out of the Taunton River. This would cost approximately $100,000, and it would assure the museum that it would not have any more worries regarding the upkeep of this ship. However, some people were keenly aware of the history that was to be lost and notified Executive Director Megan Rathburn regarding this matter. Upon these inquiries, Battleship Cove indefinitely postponed the date of this operation.”

“Today, Hiddensee continues to decay in the Taunton River with its fate unknown. No further measures have been taken to pump out water or repair the bridge that once provided access for the public to explore this piece of the Soviet, East German, and United States navies. In the meantime, the name of the ship on the stern has been covered by black paint, seeming to suggest its host museum has a continued desire to remove itself from this vessel. In addition, multiple guns have been removed from the ship, and public inquiry into these matters have not been met with any sort of response.”

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Kfurtado

    July 18, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Typical of Fall River. Remember the Bounty ?

  2. Pistol

    July 18, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    Another history hating Democrat, same thing happened in Providence. The hell with it just let history sink.

    • Ken Masson

      July 19, 2023 at 8:59 am

      Hey Mr anonymous battleship cove is struggling to survive and it’s a private non-profit and not city owned. Maybe you can make a big fat donation so they can save the Russian ship.

      So what does this have to do with ideology? At least the Democrats aren’t election denying authoritarian insurrectionist fascist and they are not bought and paid for by the super rich and corporations! They’re also not the favorite party of the ku Klux Klan and white supremacist Nationwide like the Republicans are!

  3. James Nemecky

    July 18, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    A good example of our nation’s disrespect for history and our military past.

  4. BWO

    July 18, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    Great letter. I wonder how much Megan Rathburn is getting paid to not know anything about the ships in the collection.

  5. John

    July 18, 2023 at 9:47 pm

    This is laughable…no one cares about the Hiddensee, it certainly is not of any historical value to the US or foreign nations, so many incorrect “facts” that Wikipedia even get right in this piece, and this article seems to portray it as something that it is not. Can anyone even name one important historic trait of this ship?

  6. Ura

    July 19, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    This inflammatory piece is cute, but but screams ignorant middle schooler.

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