Exploring the Abandoned Submarine Museum in New Jersey

New Jersey has a fascinating history and is home to many hidden treasures that are not widely known. One of the notable gems is the USS Ling, a submarine from World War II. It was previously part of a naval museum but is now abandoned and stuck in mud.

The USS Ling: A Fascinating Submarine with a Rich History

The USS Ling, a Balao-class submarine, was launched in 1943 and commissioned in 1945. It was one of the 120 submarines built during World War II to counter the Japanese fleet. Equipped with a crew of 80 men, this vessel had the capability to submerge to depths of 400 feet. It was armed with 10 torpedo tubes and a 5-inch deck gun. The surface speed of the vessel was 20 knots, while its underwater speed was 8.75 knots.

The Ling, despite its impressive capabilities, never saw any combat action as the war ended shortly after it was commissioned. After its time as a training vessel at the Brooklyn Navy Yard until 1960, it was decommissioned and placed in reserve. In 1972, the Submarine Memorial Association received the Ling as a donation and converted it into a museum ship.

New Jersey Naval Museum: Honoring the Silent Service

The Submarine Memorial Association obtained a lease for land near the Court Street Bridge along the Hackensack River from the Borg family, who were the owners of a newspaper company. The New Jersey Naval Museum showcases the Ling as its main exhibit, along with a collection of naval artifacts. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about the fascinating history and life of submariners.

With a history spanning 35 years, the museum has become a cherished symbol of pride for veterans and the local community. Nevertheless, in 2007, the Borg family decided to sell the land to a developer who had intentions of constructing a residential and commercial complex. As a result, the museum was forced to vacate the premises. The Ling encountered a distinct obstacle because of its immense proportions and being trapped in the river’s shallow, silted waters.

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Ling’s Dilemma: Stuck in the Mud

The Ling posed a significant challenge for relocation due to its massive weight of 2,500 tons and impressive length of 312 feet. The river was too shallow and filled with silt, and the Court Street Bridge was too narrow, which made traditional towing impractical. Using a crane to place the Ling onto a barge was the most practical choice, although it came with a significant cost in the millions.

No one came forward to claim the Ling, despite attempts to find it a new home. The U.S. Navy, being the owner, declined responsibility, and the museum faced challenges due to limited funds and manpower for maintenance. The submarine was further damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which led to the closure of the museum.

The Uncertain and Grim Future of Ling

Currently, the Ling is located in the Hackensack River, gradually decaying and potentially posing a risk to the environment. The land developer has not provided clear plans or timelines for the removal of the structure. The museum remains determined and continues to search for a solution. However, with each passing moment, optimism fades.

The Ling is a powerful symbol of the bravery exhibited by the silent service members and the rich naval heritage of New Jersey. Although it has the potential to be a popular tourist spot, there is still uncertainty about what will happen to it. If a solution is not found soon, the Ling may disappear from the river, causing a significant loss not only for the state, but also for the entire nation and the world.

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