The historic Coast Guard Cutter Storis — which spent most of its post-World War II career sailing Alaska waters — is on the auction block.
The Storis was decommissioned in 2007, and Alaska’s Congressional delegation managed to stave off disposal until now.
Heather Handyside is press secretary for Senator Mark Begich.
“We had been hoping to be able preserve the Storis, and find it a place specifically in the museum in Juneau,” she says. “However, it does take a little bit of money to maintain these older, historical vessels, and so, unfortunately we weren’t able to keep it and it’s being auctioned off.”
The Storis was listed last week on the General Services Administration auction site. The opening bid, which did not meet the reserve price, was $60,000.
Storis Museum secretary Joe Geldhof says the GSA auction caught the Storis Museum group by surprise.
“We were on a track for the Congress to dispose of the Storis by giving it to the museum,” he says. “This caught a lot of people by surprise.”
The group was hoping to bring the ship back to Juneau, where it had been stationed in the 1940s and ’50s. He says it would have been used it for training young mariners as well as a museum.
“What we had hoped when we heard about this not too long ago is that we’d be able to obtain the vessel for training purposes through the Sea Cadets program run by the Navy League of the United States. And the GSA wasn’t willing to work with us and they just wanted to put it out to bid,” Geldhof says.
He hopes the next move will ave the Storis from the scrap-yard, but it might mean the ship won’t be retired to Alaska.
“Our plan at this point is to work with some folks in Ohio and out in the Midwest, to acquire the Storis. That means it may wind up in Toledo where the ship was built,” he says. “Frankly, we are scrambling at this point to preserve a ship that was enormously important to Alaska’s maritime history and to the maritime history of the United States.”
The Storis spent about 10 years stationed in Juneau and another 50 years in Kodiak, much of the time patrolling the North Pacific and Bering Sea.