U.S. Coast Guard auctions off 1946 cutter

POSTED: 4:51 PM Sep 20 2012   UPDATED: 6:33 PM Sep 20 2012
0920 CUTTER AUCTION

After traveling over a quarter of a million miles, a U.S. Coast Guard ship is up for auction.

The 1946 cutter known as the Blackberry is being replaced and liquidated at MCAS Cherry Point. The 65-foot vessel was used for repairing hundreds of buoys from Atlantic Beach down to the South Carolina boarder. For the past few years, it has been used on base to haul items used for target practice by fighter jets.

The ship is being sold through a company called Government Liquidation. Anyone is allowed to bid on the item, and auctions like this are common across the United States.

"The one we sold at Sunny Point was a lot bigger than this one," Assistant Site Manager for Government Liquidation David Landry said. "It sold for $250,000. I don't think this one will go that high."

Government Liquidation spokeswoman Melissa Gieringer says bidding usually gets competitive towards the deadline. The Blackberry auction will go until 5 p.m. Friday.

Former crew member Tim Heneay says it's hard to see the boat go.

"There were eight of us when we went out and worked. We were gone for four or five days," Heneay said.

Crews like Heneay's would not only care for the buoys in the water, they would care for the ship itself.

"It's almost like part of your life. You spent three years of your life, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears you know? And now she's going to be gone," Heneay said.

The winner of the bid will have complete control over the future of the Blackberry.

"I imagine they're going to cut her up though," Heneay said. "I think that's what will happen."

Heneay is not planning on bidding on the ship. He says he will always have the memories from his three years on board. He hopes the winning bidder chooses to keep the ship intact.

Liquidation administrators say the person with the highest bid at 5 p.m. Friday will be given instructions on how to operate the vessel and then escorted off the Marine base.