Pat Spicer

Keyport museum's deep-sea vessel in shipshape form


By Ed Friedrich


The Trieste II was anchored in a parking lot, not in metal-eating saltwater.

Yet salty air off Dogfish Bay and red duct tape were ravaging the deep submergence vessel. A fixture at the Naval Undersea Museum since the facility opened in 1991, the Trieste II was rusting away.

A Port Orchard company, with $80,000 from the Navy, is reclaiming the historic vessel. A two-month renovation will wrap up in a couple weeks.

“It’s gone places they don’t build equipment to go anymore,” said Pat Spicer, project leader for Q.E.D. Systems. “It’s as interesting as it gets, but it’s a huge, huge challenge.”

Museum visitors aren’t likely to give the Trieste a second glance. It looks like a giant propane tank with little orange propellers, but its feats are impressive.

Certified to operate 20,000 feet under the sea, it discovered and photographed debris from the submarine USS Thresher, which sank in the Atlantic Ocean with all hands on board on April 10, 1963.