As reported by the New York Times, a cruise ship attempting to dock at the Hudson River pier caused damage to the nearby submarine Growler, which is docked as an exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
A spokeswoman for the museum confirmed that the wake produced by the cruise ship’s movement caused the Growler to rock, damaging the gangway leading visitors into the ship. The cruise ship, the Norwegian Star, was attempting to dock in a strong current. The Norwegian Star, with a capacity of 2,348 people, was returning from a cruise to Bermuda.
The Cruise line said in a statement: “In the process of maneuvering to its docking position, the ship experienced strong current conditions. To keep the ship in its correct docking approach under these conditions, propulsion and thrusters were utilized which created a wake in the surrounding waters.” The ship, which is 965 feet long, requires careful handling to safely dock in the crowded conditions of the harbor. Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said, “It requires a lot of precision and experience to maneuver a craft that big into the space without any incident.”
The wake which affected the Growler was caused by those thrusters. The Growler is on display at the museum as an example of a diesel submarine, and has historical significance as one of the first submarines to carry missiles. The Growler and her sister ships established the naval precedent of maintaining nuclear deterrent missiles at sea, where they were hidden from first strikes in case of potential attacks. The submarine was commissioned in 1958 and retired in 1964. The boat is named after the growler, an indigenous American species of bass. It has been with the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum since 1989. Visitors are able to tour the submarine’s interior and get a close look at life aboard a missile submarine which served at the height of the Cold War’s nuclear tensions.
The Coast Guard was unconcerned about the incident. According to Petty Officer McKenzie, “One vessel created a wake. The other vessel just bobbed in the water, and that’s what vessels do.” He continued, “That’s common practice. It generated a little bit more than usual wake,” and added that the gangway fell off of the submarine into the water. “I understand there was no damage,” he added.
The museum was closed at the time and there were no injuries. Passengers aboard the Norwegian Star reported nothing unusual during their arrival. The Growler exhibit was still open on Sunday, according to the Times.