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Hackensack, New Jersey

USS Ling Submarine

A World War II-era submarine is stuck in the mud in New Jersey. 

Some people want the USS Ling, a 312-foot, 2,500-ton World War II-era submarine, removed from its place on the Hackensack River. There is just one problem: It’s stuck in the mud.

The last remaining high-speed submarine from the Second World War, the USS Ling had a very short life at sea before becoming a training vessel in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In 1972, it was berthed near the New Jersey Naval Museum and restored for tours.

In 2012, the submarine was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The museum was closed and has yet to relocate or reopen. There are now plans to redevelop the property, but the fate of the sub is unclear.

The submarine is technically not on the property owned by the family who had, until recently, leased the land to the museum. Nor is it on city property, being in the river. The U.S. Navy will not take responsibility either, so it falls to the museum to move it, and the museum does not have the resources.

Among the obstacles that make doing anything with the Ling challenging is the water level, which is low enough at low tide for people to walk up to the sub. It would need another 17 feet of water to be moved. This also means work boats can’t get to it to take it apart. There’s been a buildup of silt ever since regular barge traffic on the river ended, which seems to be holding the sub in place.