The vessel in question has a very interesting history, property owner David Roderick said.
The “yacht” began life as a U.S. Navy patrol hydrofoil missile ship, built by Boeing and launched in 1982 as U.S.S. Gemini. The ship was capable of 48 knots (55 mph) foilborne. The 133-foot PHM carried eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a 75 mm rapid-fire gun, along with other sophisticated weaponry.
The Gemini and sister ships were decommissioned by the Navy in 1993. Until about 10 years ago, there were four PHM military surplus vessels docked in Wilmington, but three were scrapped, Roderick said. A man from Chicago acquired the ship in question, remodeled the topside area and installed diesel engines. The work was completed about five years ago on Roderick’s riverfront property and the owner sailed for Florida and the Bahamas. He also called the vessel the “Gemini,” Roderick said.
The vessel was sold to new owners from Florida and brought back to the Cape Fear River site about two years ago. It was hauled out of the water to dry land and the engines were removed. Other work was done on the hull and topside areas of the ship, Roderick said.
The new owners were going to retrofit the vessel with a more energy-efficient diesel-electric propulsion system, but suspended work about a year ago and went back to Florida, Roderick said. They are still paying rent on the land where the vessel is stored.
“They said they’re going to come back to it,” Roderick said.
Date posted: January 7, 2011
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