Sunday, August 19, 2007

Honolulu Landmark Ship Closed Because Of Disrepair

The Falls of Clyde ship is a National Historic Landmark that sits in Honolulu Harbor and it has been off limits to visitors for more than six months because it is disrepair. The Falls of Clyde looks majestic from far away, but if you take a closer look at the only surviving fully-rigged, four-masted sailing ship in the world and you can see the hull is pock-marked with rust and corrosion. The ship first arrived in Honolulu in 1899 and was originally registered under the Hawaiian flag. The Falls of Clyde is named for a waterfall near Glasgow, Scotland. She was built in 1878. The historical ship now shows signs of age from the bow to the rudder, which is rusted through. The condition upsets Bruce McEwan, Chieftain of the Caledonian Society of Hawaii, which promotes Scottish culture. "There seems to be a lot of effort put in to making it look good on the outside, but letting it waste away, in the interior," McEwan said.
The Falls of Clyde
The Bishop Museum owns and operates the ship as part of the Hawaii Maritime Center. Blair Collis, the museum's vice president of public operations, said that the Falls of Clyde was closed to the public in January after it was deemed unsafe. During that time, the museum has sand blasted, cleaned and patched eight of the ship's 10 ballast tanks, he said. Collis said that the museum completed an historic ship assessment last month, to come up with a detailed repair list. It will cost anywhere from $10 million to $30 million to restore the ship he said. McEwan first visited the Falls of Clyde 30 years ago. "It was in pristine shape at that time. People could go anywhere aboard and so over those years, as it's been sitting in the harbor, it's been left to deteriorate," McEwan said. The ship lost two active volunteers and supporters in the last year and a half, with the deaths of Honolulu Advertiser columnist Bob Krauss, whose memorial service was held on board and well-known sea Capt. David Kawika Lyman. A museum spokesman said it is impossible to estimate when the piece of history will be able to reopen, but he said the museum plans to raise the money to restore the ship.

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