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Museum to transfer historic ship


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POSTED: Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bishop Museum's board of directors has approved transfer of ownership of the Falls of Clyde to a nonprofit organization hoping to rescue the historic vessel that is falling apart.

Museum officials and members of the Friends of Falls of Clyde plan to hold a ceremony Tuesday at the Hawaii Maritime Center at Honolulu Harbor's Pier 7 to sign the agreement.

“;They have a strong interest in the ship and seeing it preserved as best as possible,”; said Timothy Johns, president and chief executive officer of the Bishop Museum.

Under the agreement approved Thursday, the organization made a commitment to tow the vessel to a dry dock in 90 days. Members previously obtained commitment from Marisco Ltd. to dry-dock the vessel in Kalaeloa for about two weeks. The 130-year-old national landmark is slated to be towed sometime in mid-November.

The organization also obtained a certificate for liability insurance for the vessel of $5 million while the ship is docked at Honolulu Harbor.

The organization is still searching for a location where preservation work is slated to take place when it leaves the dry dock. Bruce McEwan, president of the Friends of Falls of Clyde, estimated preservation work to cost $2 million.

“;The Friends of Falls of Clyde is very happy that the Bishop Museum made this decision. We're very enthusiastic to move this project forward,”; said McEwan.

The museum was ready to scuttle the vessel if a benefactor didn't step forward.

The museum announced that it lacked the funding to restore the deteriorating vessel.

The group, which has been meeting weekly for months, kept working on saving the national landmark after other attempts failed.

“;We were committed to making this happen, to save the ship. We're committed to making sure that it gets preserved as the national landmark it is,”; McEwan said.

Members will continue to work on establishing a fundraising campaign to meet preservation work costs. For more information, go to www.savethefallsofclyde.com.