‘Queen of the Fleet’ Heads to Mexican Scrapyard

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The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis in 2007 when it left Kodiak for the last time. The decomissioned cutter, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will be towed to Mexico and cut up for scrap metal. US Coast Guard photo

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis in 2007 when it left Kodiak for the last time. The decomissioned cutter, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will be towed to Mexico and cut up for scrap metal. US Coast Guard photo

Jay Barrett/KMXT
The one-time longest serving U.S. Coast Guard cutter, the former Queen of the Fleet, the Storis, will not become a maritime museum in Juneau or Ohio or even Kodiak.
Instead, it will be towed Friday to Mexico and cut up for scrap metal.
The Storis was sold this summer at auction by the federal General Services Administration to a scrap metal dealer for $71,000 – a fraction of the cost to build it in 1942. It was decommissioned in 2007 after serving through World War II, and then in Alaska waters, first out of Juneau, and then Kodiak.
Joe Geldhof, a Juneau attorney, is the secretary of the Storis Museum, the non-profit that was trying to save the Storis from being broken up for scrap. He spoke via mobile phone from Breezewood, Pennsylvania.
“It’s a sad day for all of us who worked all over the United States people were working to save the Storis. Unfortunately a lot of history and a great museum potential will be lost here.”
Geldhof said he and the museum do not harbor any hard feelings toward the businessman who bought the Storis, but thinks the GSA bungled the entire proceedings.
“We do harbor a strong sense that the 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.”
He also blames petty personal politics by a then-United States Senator for keeping the Storis from being transferred to the museum.
“There is another person who actually is culpable in ruining the museum deal, and that’s a guy named Jim DeMint, who was routinely putting a hold on the congressional authorization to transfer it to the non-profit museum. And DeMint apparently had a snit to pick with the Alaska Delegation, and he frankly queered the deal a couple years running.”
DeMint was a one-term Republican senator from South Carolina.
Geldhof says the Storis Museum organization still has some money left over and the board will meet to decide what to do next to memorialize the ship and those who served on it.
“Probably with one or more really high-quality museum-grade models and displays, perhaps in Kodiak, perhaps in Juneau. We didn’t save the ship, but we’re working now to try to remember everybody who served on it and memorialize, to the extent we can, a wonderful ship that served the United States and the Coast Guard and the citizens of our country well.”
Friday, a tug will begin towing the Storis from the Suisun Bay mothball fleet storage in California 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.


8 responses to “‘Queen of the Fleet’ Heads to Mexican Scrapyard

  1. Where is our Congressional delegation stand on this? Come on people, make a deal to keep this National Treasure!

  2. I think this is the saddest thing I have ever read– Why was it so impossible for the government to step in and save the Storis?? nope the money would of been needed more to line congress and the senates pockets–Or more nonsence funding for ridiculous state requests– I’m sad for history going to a scrap yard, I’m sad for the men that had served on this ship, I’m sad for my uncle who served on the Storis and took great pride in making sure we knew about it– I wish it was sunk and used as a reef, a least the men that served on it could still go and lay a wreath pay tribute– sad sad– Vicki L. Covey

  3. You would think of all the money that Kodiac and Juneau in the general population that this historic ship could have been saved!!!!!! History is history and when this ship is cut up alot of that will go away with the cutting of a torch. Sham on all who did not fight to save this ship so that other could enjoy it for lifetime.

  4. This is “OUR” government in action. When they ACT on something WE lose.
    When they RE-ACT WE lose. Our congress is the poorest representative We could ever have chosen………..

  5. How sad. My memories of an aviation TAD on the Storis will never fade, but would have loved to have the opportunity to visit her as a floating museum — wherever she wound up.

  6. Calvin J Harlow sr

    What a shameful way to end the service of this cutter. Wartime service, Alaska service, lives saved, shipping safety and memories of the men who were crew and shipmates must mean little to someone who only can see scrap metal. SHAMEFUL INDEED! I doubt that this cutter ever shut down on the job.

  7. I don’t understand how this ship, placed on the National Register of Historic Places one year ago, could be purchased and towed to a foreign country to be cut up for scrap. Just shameful!! Ought to be illegal!!!

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