140-year-old ship could be auctioned off after restoration plan falls through

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Jan. 18, 2019 at 5:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The plan to relocate a historic ship docked at Honolulu Harbor has fallen through.

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

Now, time is running out to find the Falls of Clyde a new home before the state auctions it off.

The 140-year-old ship is the last four-masted, iron-hulled sailing oil tanker in the world.

And those hoping to preserve it had arranged to have the vessel loaded onto a yacht carrier and shipped back to Scotland, where it was built.

But that plan fell through, days before a state deadline.

So now Bruce McEwan, the head of the group that’s worked so hard to save the historic ship, is facing a dilemma.

McEwan’s been told the vessel must be out of the harbor by Feb. 6 or the state Department of Transportation will auction it off.

“Our fear has always been whoever buys it may not have restoration in mind,” said McEwan. “They may end up taking her out and making her a dive site.”

The Falls of Clyde arrived in Hawaii in the late 1800s and was purchased by Capt. William Matson, becoming one of the first vessels in his fleet.

For years, the Friends of the Falls of Clyde have tried to save the ship.

In 2016, the state impounded it, citing safety concerns.

And since then, there have been two other failed attempts to return the vessel to Scotland to be restored.

Now the Friends group is attempting a last ditch effort to save her.

They’ve reached out to the offices of Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, hoping for approval to get a temporary berthing at Pearl Harbor.

So far there’s been no response.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation said it’s “making every effort” to work with the Friends group.

“The Falls of Clyde have made several good faith attempts to partner with supporters to return the vessel to its place of origin,” Transportation Department spokesman Tim Sakahara said, in a news release.

"While their efforts seemed promising, their plans have once again stalled. HDOT is coordinating with the Friends to move forward with its departure from Honolulu Harbor.

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