Massive Barge at Treasure Island Holds Secrets

The military built the submersible barge for a secret mission.

A football field size barge with a retractable roof recently docked on Treasure Island is getting lots of attention.

Workers with Bay Ship and Yacht say they are getting emails about the barge and people are stopping by the security fence asking questions.

NBC Bay Area News stopped by as well and got permission to board. 

The barge is the Hughes Mining Barge or the HMB-1.

The military built the submersible barge for a secret mission. It carried a tool called The Claw, that the CIA used to grab a Russian submarine off the ocean floor. After that mission the HMB-1 docked at Lockheed Martin in Redwood City where another secret mission launched.

This time Bay Area engineers helped the military build a stealth ship called the Sea Shadow. It looks like a sci-fi movie prop. But experts say it pushed the limits of technology in an attempt to make a ship that could not be detected by radar.

The cold war relics were recently declassified and put up for auction. Bay Ship and Yacht paid $2.5 million dollars for the pair but had to agree to scrap the Sea Shadow.

Workers are beginning that process in the privacy of the HMB-1.

"It's a new experience, everyday we find something new -- little secrets here and there. A tremendous amount of technology went into this. The engineering is astounding," said worker Paul Pegan.

Bay Ship and Yacht general manager Alan Cameron has big plans for the HMB-1. He will restore it and use it as a dry dock.

He says ship work can be harmful to the environment and the retractable roof makes it possible to make it a completely closed space.

"Being able to control the environment and weather is huge in ship repair it's a smoke stack industry and it doesn't have to be," Cameron said. 

A military relic will soon be a maritime marvel.

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