The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis will be towed to Mexico on Friday and cut up for scrap metal.
Once the longest-serving cutter and called the Queen of the Fleet, the Storis was sold this summer to a scrap metal dealer for $71,000.
The medium-endurance cutter was built in Ohio for $2 million and launched in 1942. After serving through World War II and as a cutter in Juneau and Kodiak, the Storis was decommissioned in 2007. In 1957, the cutter became the first American flagged ship to sail the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean.
Juneau attorney Joe Geldhof is secretary of the Storis Museum, the non-profit that was trying to save the ship and turn it into a museum.
Geldhof says the museum group does not harbor hard feelings toward the businessman who bought the Storis, but thinks the U.S. General Services Administration bungled the entire proceeding.
“General Service Administration botched the disposal. They didn’t give non-profits the opportunity to select the Storis before it was put on the scrap market,” Geldhof says.
He also blames personal politics by former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, for keeping the Storis from being transferred to the museum.
“Jim DeMint routinely was putting a hold on the congressional authorization to transfer it to the non-profit museum a couple years running,” he says.
DeMint was a one-term Republican senator from South Carolina.
Geldhof says the Storis Museum organization still has some money left and the board will meet to decide what to do next to memorialize the ship and those who served on it.
The Storis has been in the Suisun Bay mothball fleet storage in California and will be towed by tug to Ensenada, Mexico, where it will be stripped down and cut up for its scrap metal value.
Its final fate comes less than a year after the Storis was named to the National Register of Historic Places.