Long-serving sub stops in Rosedale on way to Arkansas

The Associated Press

ROLLING FORK – The USS Razorback, the longest serving submarine in history, received new paint at the port here while awaiting the chance to move into the Arkansas River.

North Little Rock, Ark., Mayor Patrick Hays says the World War II-era submarine has traveled 7,000 miles and will become the centerpiece of a planned maritime museum on the Arkansas River.

The Navy decommissioned the 312-foot vessel Nov. 30, 1970, and handed it over to the Turkish navy, which recently agreed to sell it to North Little Rock for $1.

A tug moved the submarine from Turkey and into the Mississippi River.

Capt. Tom Willoughby of the Tug Rhea, who joined the tug at New Orleans, said that compared to other salvage tows, this one has been particularly difficult.

“The submarine is real narrow and we're having to take it up the Mississippi River, against its normal flow,” Willoughby said. “It just wants to wobble as we go.”

Steve Nawojczyk, assistant to the mayor of North Little Rock, said the large tug was designed for ocean work and “they can't go any further up the river.”

Another problem occurred with unsuccessful attempts to pump water out of the ballast tanks on the stern end of the submarine.

The Razorback is drafting at 11.5 feet at its bow and at nearly 15 feet at its stern. Shallow portions of the Arkansas River are 9 feet.

Port Commissioner David Work says inland river barges will be used to lift the submarine to a level that will allow it to continue its journey.

Officials said the sub should make a a Friday ceremony at Montgomery Point Lock and Dam, about 15 miles north or Rosedale. The Razorback will be brought back to Rosedale until adjustments are made so it can reach its new home.

Information from: Bolivar Commercial, http:// WWW.BOLIVARCOM.COM

Click video to hear audio