A World War II-era ship will remain stuck in Lake Barkley for the time being. Spokesman Lieutenant Dan McQuate says the U.S.S. LST 325 ran aground in shallow waters around 7 p.m. Monday after it left the main navigation channel. McQuate says it’s unclear why the ship was off course. He says the 42-person crew will remain on board as officials plan what to do next.
“We haven’t taken any actions to try to physically remove it. We’re working with the vessel, requested a salvage plan from them, so they can help with the plan on how to try to remove it. And we’ll review that to insure that we they want to do can be done safely, and not risk any personnel or damage to the environment," said McQuate.
McQuate says the vessel’s age may factor into the salvage plan. The ship landed troops on the beaches of Normany in World War II. It's now a tourist attraction based in Evansville, Indiana. It was on its way back from a traveling exhibition to Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee, when it ran aground.
“It was built in 1942, launched in 1943, so it’s 70-year-old steel, so that’s something that’s going to be something that’s going to have to be addressed in the salvage plan," McQuate commented. "We’ll leave that up to the surveyors to determine how big of a risk that is based on the hull condition.”
There is no set timeline to move the ship. McQuate says right now, the vessel’s location isn’t a hazard.
“From our small boat that’s on scene and some industry partners that we spoke with that operate in that area, they saw where the vessel’s at and said there’s not a risk to the navigation channel, so commercial traffic can continue to transit," he said.
McQuate says this is the first time the vessel has unintentionally run aground.