SHRINK WRAP PROTECTS HISTORIC VESSEL DURING REPAIRS
Published: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 6:00 am
On the 160th year after it was first launched, the USS Constellation must undergo an almost $2 million hull restoration. To do this, it requires a new temporary structure to provide protection during the rebuilding process. An easy solution was to utilize Dr. Shrink's premium shrink wrap, professionally installed by Atlantic Shrink Wrap.
The task was to create an enclosed structure from the middle of the vessel to completely surround the hull. Controlling the temperature of the work area and underside of the boat was also a high priority. Atlantic Shrink Wrap's portfolio of unique shrink wrapped scaffolding projects over large ships in Bangkok, Thailand and the US Coast Guard yard in Baltimore, Maryland, where the USS Constellation is drydocked, made it the perfect company to complete such a project.
After consulting with Dr. Shrink, Atlantic Shrink Wrap determined the 12 mil, white shrink wrap would be ideal for this job. Then, the USS Constellation was raised and docked inside the World War II era floating drydock USS Oak Ridge. The Oak Ridge is part of the USCG Baltimore Fleet Support Yard.
With 205' long stretches of open air space between the hull of the Constellation and the walls of the Oak Ridge, the 12 mil material is strong enough to withstand heavy ice and snow loads throughout the winter months. Atlantic Shrink Wrap coordinated the building of scaffolding around the Constellation's lower half to facilitate both the mounting of the shrink wrap and the hull repairs beneath.
The cover was installed in seven separate pieces. This was only possible because of the incredible ability to blend one section to another, creating the length and unique shape needed to match the hull of the ship.
The front and back of the vessel were closed off by continuing the shrink wrap over pre-erected scaffolding. Large entrance doors were framed into it to allow access to tools and materials.
Decommissioned in 1955, the Constellation was the last all-sail vessel in the US Navy. She became a training ship in 1894 for the Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island, helping train more than 60,000 recruits during World War I. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, the Constellation is scheduled to be back in her home berth in early 2015.