Sad, if not surprising news. The Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division (HDOT Harbors) has ordered that the 138-year-old sailing ship Falls of Clyde be removed from Honolulu harbor. Previously, in a letter dated June 15th, the Harbor Division had given the Friends of the Falls of Clyde, the current owners of the ship, 30 days to remove it from Pier 7 in Honolulu harbor, where the ship has been berthed, free of charge, for the last seven years. In the letter, the Harbors Division cited safety concerns. “The condition of the Falls of Clyde poses an unacceptable risk to navigation in Honolulu Harbor and a safety and security risk to harbor users.”
In early August, the Friends of Falls of Clyde submitted a plan that outlines what could be done with the ship. The Harbors Division agreed to review the plan, which called for an additional year to raise funds to move to the ships for repairs. The State, however, has said that “a plan that requests additional time to seek more funding is not acceptable.”
Hawaii News Now quotes Bruce McEwan, president of Friends of Falls of Clyde, saying, “We’ve already been Harbors (Division) on notice that if they’re going to stick with the impoundment that we have property aboard the ship that isn’t going to go down with the ship or isn’t going to go with a new owner.”
Falls of Clyde is the last four-masted full-rigged iron ship and the only surviving sailing oil tanker. The ship was launched in 1878 in Port Glasgow, Scotland, for the Fall Line. She became a museum ship in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1971, but was never properly maintained. In 2008, the Bishop Museum, which had control of the ship, was preparing to tow her out sea and scuttle her. In September 2008, the Friends of Falls of Clyde, a non-profit group of volunteers, acquired the ship. Despite attempts to raise funds over the last seven years, the group has not to succeeded in arranging to drydock or to begin significant repairs to the long-neglected historic ship, which has continued to deteriorate.