Historic Falls of Clyde loses harbor permit

Historic Falls of Clyde loses harbor permit
Published: Jun. 16, 2016 at 7:54 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 16, 2016 at 10:49 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

It’s a national historic landmark and the last vessel of its kind still intact.

The Falls of Clyde is also now without a harbor permit. 

The state Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division has revoked the ship’s free month-to-month permit to dock in Honolulu Harbor, citing safety and other concerns.

That's left those trying to preserve and restore the ship concerned about its future. 

Friends of Falls of Clyde, the non-profit that owns the ship, is asking the state for patience.

"If you look at historic ship preservations anywhere in the world, they take years and years and decades to accomplish," said Bruce McEwan, president of Friends of Falls of Clyde.

McEwan said it will take roughly $1.5 million to dry dock and renovate the four-masted sailing tanker first launched in 1878 from Scotland.

But fundraising has been slow. The group's been able to get about $145,000 in donations, or about 10 percent of what it needs.

State Harbors Division Deputy Director Darrell Young said the ship's permit was revoked because the state isn't see any progress in the organization's efforts to preserve the ship.

"We needed to see some kind of movement and we did not," he said. 

He added the ship has had a cushy deal in the past with its month to month permits.

"They pay us nothing," he said. And that’s lost revenue for the division.

"Everyone who comes in pays to come in. We use that to offset the harbors improvements as well as pay for the goods you and I consume," he said.

Young says the ship has also become a safety hazard. If it came free of its moorings, it would sink and could block the turning basin for other ships.

The Friends of the Falls of Clyde now has 30 days to remove the vessel from the harbor -- or strike another deal with the state.

If the vessel isn't moved, it could be impounded or other legal action could be taken.

McEwan says the ship is too valuable to lose.

"The Falls of Clyde is the only other national historic landmark other than Iolani Palace that the state can lay claim to," he said. 

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