USS Arizona

Filed under:Priorities — posted by Anwyn on January 22, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

Not news: A battleship sunk over forty years ago is slowly turning into an iron-ore deposit.

News: It is the USS Arizona, memorial site for many of those killed at Pearl Harbor, and contains 500,000 gallons of oil that will be freed into the ocean when the hull gives way.

Big News for This Blog, in Which I Agree with Environmentalists; at Least, I’m Sure This Would be Their Opinion Since I Didn’t Bother to Read Them before Posting This: They can pump out the oil, but won’t because it’s the grave of the Arizona’s crewmen?

But how to protect it? That is no simple matter. The Arizona is so important — as a symbol and final resting place for a thousand crewmen — that engineers cannot just prop up the hull, or drill holes to pump the oil out.

When I first read Divester’s post on the matter (via Instapundit), I assumed they either hadn’t sufficiently looked into the possibilities (“National Park officials aren’t sure how to remove it from the wreck”–just a thought, Park Service, but have you thought about asking some ship engineers?) or for some reason couldn’t pump the oil out. But the ABC article implies that they could but won’t because of the hallowed nature of a site that is not only a war memorial but the grave of America’s seamen.

I’m sorry, but after sixty years, would it really be that much of a desecration to take whatever drilling steps are necessary to prevent an oil spill just a fraction of the size of Exxon Valdez, but still presumably dangerous enough to the wildlife and ecosystem? Call me callous, but I think not.

I’m skeptical. If the article isn’t getting it wrong, I’d like to hear from the engineers on whether pumping the oil out is practical or not. Then let’s talk about which is worse: the desecration of the grave of our brave seamen or the potential desecration of an oil spill off the coast of Hawaii.


  1. So an oil spill isn’t a desecration that ought to be prevented?

    Comment by See-Dubya — January 22, 2007 @ 11:38 pm

  2. I think it is. Did I somehow miss the making of my point?

    Comment by Anwyn — January 22, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

  3. Shorter me:

    “after sixty years, would it really be that much of a desecration to take whatever drilling steps are necessary to prevent an oil spill … I think not.”

    Comment by Anwyn — January 22, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace