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Engineers discuss options as Intrepid is mired in mud

Ship needs to be moved for repairs

NEW YORK -- Teams of military and private specialists analyzed blueprints of the mudlocked Intrepid at dockside yesterday as they strategized on how to move the mighty World War II aircraft carrier for renovations.

The USS Intrepid, which defied kamikaze attacks, bombs, and torpedoes during its legendary history, refused to budge from its berth Monday, sending six tug boats with a combined 30,000 horsepower home defeated.

As the tugs moved the ship, its massive propellers screwed into a mound of mud. The mud pile built up higher with each subsequent pull, forcing officials to scrub the mission.

Intrepid officials were not deterred, and began working immediately to figure out a new course of attack.

"We are exploring all our options," Bill White, president of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, said yesterday.

White said he is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and private industry specialists. Senior Pentagon officials have also offered their assistance.

"They didn't call her the fighting 'I' for nothing," White said.

On Monday, the ship received a glorious goodbye with a military band playing and politicians singing its praises, while dozens of media members recorded the departure of Intrepid, leaving for a two-year $60 million renovation project.

But for 90 minutes, tugs pulled from the stern while others pushed from the bow, and they could not move Intrepid off the mound of mud that had cradled the ship for the last 24 years.

Intrepid officials had meticulously prepared for the move, even obtaining the necessary federal permits to vertically dredge a driveway from the berthing area out to the Hudson River, according to Peter Shugert, Army Corps of Engineers spokesman. They finished the project last week, removing about 15,000 cubic yards of mud .

"They had hoped to pull the ship off the mound, drop it into the 35-foot dredged hole and then out to the open water," Shugert said.

Intrepid was rescued from the scrap heap in the 1970s by New York builder Zach Fisher, who transformed the 27,000-ton veteran aircraft carrier into a mammoth military museum to honor those who served in the armed forces.

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