HONOLULU — Hawaii officials plan to auction a 140-year-old ship after repeated attempts to deliver it to its Scottish homeland failed.
The Falls of Clyde, the last surviving ship of a fleet named after Scottish waterfalls, will be on sale for the next three weeks, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
Russell & Co. built the vessel in Port Glasgow in 1878. It came to the islands when Matson, Hawaii’s biggest shipping company, acquired it. It later became an oil tanker.
In Honolulu Harbor, the ship became a museum and hosted weddings, funerals, parties, military re-enlistment ceremonies and a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party. It was also available for school tours.
Last month state officials noticed the ship was taking on water. They got emergency funds to make repairs.
The group Save Falls of Clyde International announced plans to bring the ship back to Scotland in 2017. But a plan to have a lift ship transport it fell through last summer. Another lift scheduled for Feb. 3 was canceled due to logistical problems.
The state Harbor Division said it has helped the ship’s supporters by not charging any rent or fees for the use of its pier since April 2009. The state said it was moving forward with auction proceedings in part to protect Honolulu Harbor.
“We’ve given 10 years to the process, and repeatedly we’ve heard the same thing: ‘We just need time,’” said Transportation Department spokesman Tim Sakahara. “There have been numerous attempts at fundraising and removal, and all have been unsuccessful. Given the current state of this ship and its continued deterioration, it needs to be moved now. We’re moving forward with the next step, which is the auction.”
If the winning bidder fails to pay in a timely manner or remove the ship by the required deadline, the state’s options may be to sell the Falls of Clyde by negotiation, dispose of the vessel as junk or potentially donate it to a government agency.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com