By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s tall ship, Gazela, will be sailing up to Staten Island, NY next month for a short, two-week inspection haul.

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But those responsible for maintaining the historic ship are also looking for a drydock to perform some longer-term maintenance.

Eric Lorgus, president of the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, says it’s time for some serious work on the Gazela, and the only way to do that is to lift her out of the water.

“Last time she was out of the water was 2005 — eight years ago,” Lorgus says of the 112-year-old Portuguese barkentine, originally built for fishing on the Grand Banks.

But, he notes, drydock locations are not easy to come by.

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“One of the problems we’ve had is that because we’re a nonprofit, all these yards know that they won’t be able to charge us as much as they’re able to charge a commercial ship, so they’re not willing to give us some of their prime assets when they’re real busy.  And at the moment, the ship repairing business is very busy, ever since Hurricane Sandy,” Lorgus says.

He adds that the drydocking process is quite interesting and could become an educational experience for visitors:

“One of the cool things would be is if we can do this work in Philadelphia, we were hoping that we could make it a tourist attraction.  It’s fascinating to see this ship when she’s out of the water.”

Lorgus says it could take six months to a year to secure a location for the 90-day maintenance that’s needed.


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