Pride of Baltimore II hauled to dry dock for maintenance, bottom inspection

March 24, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

The Pride of Baltimore II was lifted out of the water yesterday at a Curtis Bay boatyard for routine maintenance and a close inspection of damage from its 21-month European odyssey -- including an incident in an English port where the goodwill ship ran aground in July.

Linda Jordan, executive director of the Pride, said the inspection is an annual requirement for passenger certification by the U.S. Coast Guard and that the "haul out" at the Smith & Sons boatyard provides an opportunity to look at the ship's bottom.

Ms. Jordan said the Pride ran aground during a day cruise from Southampton's harbor in July while some Trans World Airlines officials were on board as guests. The incident resulted in a hearing before a magistrate and a fine of 100 pounds for Capt. Jan Miles.

"We did a diving inspection right after the grounding and there was no visible damage," Ms. Jordan said. "We're not anticipating finding anything. We ran aground in a very soft sandy bottom. We wouldn't expect to find anything."

The incident and fine were reported in the British news media, and a photo of the Pride listing to port in the Hamble River entrance to Southampton was printed in the March/April issue of Ocean Navigator magazine.

"We were terribly disappointed it had to go into court proceedings," Ms. Jordan said. "Certainly no one was hurt. We were just embarrassed by the incident. It's something that can happen to the best of mariners."

According to Ms. Jordan, the Pride was "in the wrong place as the tide was going out" after the crew "misidentified some markers," and remained aground "until the tide came in and they floated free."

Of more concern during this week's work is an examination of the hull for general wear and tear and structural integrity.

The propellers are being removed for servicing, and the ship's bottom is to be steam cleaned and painted.

Workers also will replace the "zincs" -- metal plates fitted to the hull to protect metal fittings from the damaging effects of seawater.

Ms. Jordan said the Pride is expected to be in dry dock until the end of the week, and will be ready to sail at the start of the ship's spring schedule April 1.

The Pride will remain in the Baltimore-Annapolis area until mid-May, then set sail to join the tall ships participating in the celebrations in San Juan, New York and Boston marking the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyage to America.

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