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USS Requin Opening Sealed Hulls

Visitors to the Carnegie Science Center's USS Requin during the next four weeks will be able to view parts of the submarine that have been sealed since it was decommissioned in 1968.

The Cold War-era vessel has been at the Science Center since 1990 and is docked on the Ohio River behind the museum. The hatches to the outer hulls are being opened as a part of a conservational survey after being welded shut for nearly 45 years.

The Requin and has not undergone an evaluation like this since its arrival in Pittsburgh via Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Patty Rogers, the center's Curator of Historical Exhibits, said conservational surveys are standard practices conducted by museums on a periodic basis.

"It is used to assess and evaluate anything from a collection of photographs to monuments to historic buildings and houses and, yes, also historic vessels," Rogers said.

A team of three divers will inspect areas underneath water, and a surveyor will inspect areas above water and inside the fuel and ballast tanks. The survey will give the science center suggestions for daily upkeep and maintenance as well as guidelines for future care. Rogers said the report from the survey will allow for more responsible care of the submarine.

"This will be a guide to future preservation of the submarine, so we will use this as a guideline gong forward for repairs and just general conservation and preservation that we are going to be undertaking on the submarine," Rogers said.

Rogers said visitors can still engage in self-guided tours in the submarine, and the vessel is here to stay for the long haul.

"Pittsburghers are connected to the submarine. It's an icon in Pittsburgh," Rogers said. "Certainly that is evidenced in our visitorship. We have very high attendance on the submarine. It's actually record-breaking these last couple of years."