Near Disaster in Pearl Harbor Drydock
Told by William Ringleib Jr.
During a typhoon in late 1945, the USS Terror sustained damage to her hull from banging against another ship in the high winds and rough sea generated by the storm. The repairs required a short stay in Dry-dock #2 at Pearl Harbor. During the repairs, oil and water stored in the tanks on the side of the ship which was damaged needed to be moved to the other side to allow welding to be done safely on the hull. Following the repairs, the process of refloating the ships in the dry-dock was begun. Apparently the Terror’s tanks were never properly balanced and the ship began to severely list to one side as it lifted from the blocking used in the dry-dock to support the ship. It listed so far that the engines needed to be stopped and power shut down since the Terror could no longer properly use seawater for cooling. The refloating process was stopped and the tanks needed to be rebalanced once power was restored from the shore lines. For some time there was a big concern that the ship would capsize or become wedged due to its severe list. After several hours of hard work the Terror was finally balanced and the refloating continued. One major consequence of the whole event was that many walls needed to be repainted following the incident since the best way to move around some of the rooms or passageways was to use the walls rather than the floors.