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‘Perfect Storm’ Ship for Sale

March 21, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Coast Guard cutter that rescued a helicopter crew during ``The Perfect Storm″ off the New England coast a decade ago is being sold by the government in an online auction.

The Tamaroa, whose devotees have a Web site in her honor, is docked in New York Harbor awaiting a buyer. Despite a storied history, including the attempted rescue documented in the book and film, ``The Perfect Storm,″ the high bid Tuesday was just $31,100.

``She sort of epitomizes the Coast Guard. She’s an ugly duckling but she did her job and did it well,″ said Serge Obolensky, who served on the Tamaroa in 1983 and later started its Web site.

The 205-foot cutter rescued seven people during the 1991 storm that took the lives of the crew of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing vessel from Gloucester, Mass.

The ``Tam,″ as fans call her, rescued three people aboard the sailboat Satori off Nantucket Island and was sent back out to search for a downed Air National Guard helicopter. A helicopter crewman died, but the cutter’s crew plucked four from the water.

The helicopter had run out of fuel while searching for the Andrea Gail, whose six-man crew was lost.

Author Sabastian Junger turned the story into a best-selling novel, and a film based on the book came out last year.

Bidding opened last week at a paltry $100. The high bidder as of Tuesday goes by the online name ``GoForIt.″ Serious buyers typically wait until the end of an auction to bid, so the price should rise. Bidding is to end March 29.

Potential buyers can schedule an inspection, but the auction Web site warns it’s in ``rough condition,″ without radio equipment and with generators and engines that need ``significant repairs.″

Tamaroa has ``the speed of a snail and the strength of an elephant,″ said William Moeller, a rescue team member during the Perfect Storm.

The winning bidder has 48 hours to make good and then a week to move the Tamaroa from its dock.

After the Tamaroa was decommissioned in 1994, a plan to save the 1,731-ton ship fell through because a museum decided restoration would have been too costly. Instead, it has sat idle for seven years, until the government finally sent it to the General Services Administration for disposal.


On the Net: Auction site: http://www.gsaauctions.gov

Tamaroa Web site: http://www.tamaroa.org

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