By Anthony R. Wood - Philly
The ship survived Iwo Jima, drug wars, the Mariel boat-lift, and one of the most-horrific North Atlantic storms of the 20th Century.
But at age 69, the fabled Zuni/Tamaroa is confronting a more formidable adversary - the sedentary life.
While moored at a marine yard near Norfolk, Va., in late May a major leak flooded the engines, and a forward bulkhead partially collapsed, according to Harry Jaeger, who is leading the battle to save the ship.
Jaeger runs the Zuni Maritime Foundation, which dreams of restoring the ship - named the Zuni during its naval career, and the Tamaroa, or Tam, when the Coast Guard took it over - as a museum and educational vessel.
The foundation is trying to raise $500,000 for the rescue operation, but it might take more than double that amount, said Tim Mullane, owner of American Marine Group, which has provided a temporary haven for the vessel.
Jaeger said the current owner, listed as Zuni/Tamaroa L.L.C., of Wilmington, plans to sell the steel ship to Mullane, who in turn would sell it for scrap metal.
Mullane said that he was in no hurry to take ownership and that he wants to give the foundation a chance to raise the rescue money. He added, however, that the operation would be a daunting one.