Former Coast Guard cutter Storis goes up for auction

KODIAK — The federal government is putting a former Coast Guard cutter up for auction after efforts to send it to a museum in Juneau failed.

The cutter Storis was listed for auction last week on the General Services Commission website at an opening bid of $60,000, Kodiak’s public radio station, KMXT, reported.

“Well I think we had been hoping to be able to preserve the Storis, and find it a place specifically in the museum in Juneau,” said Heather Handyside, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. “However, as you probably know, 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.”

Joe Geldhof, the secretary for the Storis Museum in Juneau, said he and others were surprised when the ship showed up on the auction site. The hope was to have the Storis taken to the museum in Juneau where it was homeported for 10 years during the 1940s and 1950s.

Besides it being an artifact for the museum, Geldhof told the Kodiak radio station it could have been used to
train young mariners.

“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,” he said.

Now that it appears the museum won’t get the ship, Geldhof said the next step is to save it from the scrap yard — though that means the ship won’t be retired in Juneau.

“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, but we are still trying to save the Storis and preserve a ship that spent most of its career in Alaska, but started out in Ohio,” he said.

“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 cutter saw service in World War II and spent much of the time after the war patrolling Alaska waters. Besides calling Juneau home for about a decade, it was also homeported in Kodiak for 50 years. It was decommissioned in 2007.