Museum: Take our ships, please!
Save our ships!
The Seaport Museum is begging foreign harbors to adopt its historic vessels — in a last-ditch attempt to save them from the scrap heap.
Up for grabs are the iconic Peking (pictured), a century-old barque that once carried nitrates from South America to Europe, and the Marion M., currently berthed on Staten Island with shipworm and ice-damage holes.
The 112-year-old tugboat Helen McAllister has returned to her erstwhile owner, McAllister Towing in Battery Park.
“We’re not selling historic assets,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, president of the South Street Seaport museum. “We’re being good citizens.”
The museum is forced to cut sails after the city made plans to redevelop one of its piers for ferry operations.
Now the museum is trying to make the majestic 1911 Peking a gift to a maritime museum in Hamburg, her original home.
The tall ship was supposed to set sail for Germany last month but negotiations have stalled.
Jones said the boats need millions of dollars in repairs.
The Wavertree, the largest iron sailing ship still afloat, requires $20 million in repairs. It will be the Seaport’s centerpiece and move from a floating barge to Pier 16 after the Peking is gone.
Still, city seafarers are sad to see any vessels go.
“It’s a sign of what could come,” said David Sheldon of Save Our Seaport, a volunteer group that’s fundraising to repair the remaining old vessels. “If we value being able to walk into the history of the city at South Street, we’re going to have to fight for it.”
Source: New York Post, USA.