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Press & Media

Critical Repairs to Take Four Months on Historic Ship

BALTIMORE, MD – The Coast Guard Yard, the U.S. Coast Guard’s 115-year old shipyard, became a scene of living history on the morning of October 22, 2014 as it welcomed the USS Constellation for an anticipated four-month repair availability. Constellation will join other Coast Guard customers including the Coast Guard Barque Eagle, the 78-year old square rigger and training ship of the Coast Guard Academy, in the Yard for repair.

Berthed in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the past 60 years, the 160-year old Constellation is a U.S. Navy “sloop-of-war” and under custody of the City of Baltimore as a museum ship. The non-profit organization, Historic Ships in Baltimore, a program of the Living Classrooms Foundation, serves as the vessel’s caretaker. Constellation last dry-dock was in 2011.

Located within a safe transit distance from the Inner Harbor and the only facility available locally to do the work, the Yard signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the City of Baltimore to accomplish critical repairs to a 4,000-square-foot portion of the ship’s deteriorating wood hull plate. Federal law permits the Coast Guard Yard to perform ship repair work for other government agencies. The $2 million project is funded by the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland.

USS Constellation anticipates departing the Yard for its Inner Harbor berth on February 20, 2015.

"Each year the USS Constellation offers thousands of school children, families and tourists the opportunity to experience living history right in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “During the recent Star Spangled Spectacular, we celebrated the ship’s long and proud history. . . Restoration of the USS Constellation will ensure future generations have the opportunity to step back in time and learn about her century of service in the U.S. Navy.”

"The USS Constellation is one of Baltimore's most historic treasures, prominently berthed at Baltimore's Inner Harbor as an icon for all to enjoy," said Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "As the birthplace of our national anthem, it is vital that we continue to preserve the historical monuments that have contributed to our nation's past and ensure that visitors and residents alike can continue to explore our rich history."

“We are looking forward to working together with the personnel of the U.S. Coast Guard Yard on this very important preservation project to save Constellation,” said Chris Rowsom, Executive Director of Historic Ships in Baltimore and Vice President of Living Classrooms Foundation.

The USS Constellation (IX-20) was built in 1854 and is the last remaining ship afloat that was active during the U.S. Civil War. Constellation is also the Navy’s last designed and constructed sail-only warship.

Prior to Civil War service, Constellation interdicted merchant vessels engaged in the illegal slave trade off the coast of Africa. The ship served as a U.S. Naval Academy training ship from 1879 to 1893, was stationed at Naval Station Newport RI in the early 1900s, and was assigned as the Reserve Atlantic Fleet Flagship in WWII.

Once back in the Inner Harbor in 2015, the historic USS Constellation will be open daily for public tours as the flagship of the Historic Ships in Baltimore fleet.

Press release provided by: Office of Public Affairs, US Coast Guard

Contact: Coast Guard Yard Communications Office, (410) 636-7238

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