HONOLULU — A deal has fallen through to send a late 19th century iron-hulled ship from Honolulu to Scotland.
Scotland-based Save Falls of Clyde International canceled the ship scheduled to pick up the historic vessel on Feb. 3, citing logistical problems, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.
The group might have been a “bit optimistic” about the time it would take to secure commercial sponsors for the project, said David O’Neill, the group’s director.
“We are still very much 100 percent committed to saving this ship as she has a role to play that will benefit citizens of Hawaii, the environment and help create new opportunities across the Pacific region,” O’Neill said. “If we succeed we will save Hawaii taxpayers almost up to $1.5 million, which has been estimated as the cost for Harbors to sink her.”
Falls of Clyde is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in Port Glasgow, Scotland, in 1878. The ship is believed to be the last surviving vessel of its kind.
The state Harbors Division has given the ship’s owner until Feb. 6 to move the vessel from Pier 7 at Honolulu Harbor. The state plans to start auction proceedings if the deadline is not met, said Bruce McEwan, president of the Honolulu friends group.
“We don’t want to see her auctioned off because we don’t know what that’s going to mean for her future,” McEwan said.
Falls of Clyde has been docked at Pier 7 for free since 2008. The state impounded it in August 2016.
“The Friends of Falls of Clyde has made several attempts to partner with supporters to return the vessel to its place of origin,” said Tim Sakahara, state Department of Transportation spokesman. “While its efforts seemed promising, the plans have once again stalled. HDOT is coordinating with the Friends to move forward with its departure from Honolulu Harbor.”
The friends group has reached out to U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono to see if an agreement could be worked out to temporarily dock the ship at Pearl Harbor, McEwan said.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com