A symbol of the Cold War era, the Soviet-built Scorpion submarine has been moored next to the Queen Mary as a tourist attraction for two decades.
The rusty craft was closed to visitors three years ago after it fell into disrepair. Now, its future is uncertain as Queen Mary operator Urban Commons plans to remove the submarine later this year to make way for a massive redevelopment project.
But extricating a vessel that spans the length of a football field won’t be cheap or easy, Dan Zaharoni, Urban Commons’ chief development officer, said Monday.
Zaharoni said Urban Commons is trying to determine the best way to maneuver the Foxtrot-class submarine through the rock wall surrounding the ship. They hope to begin the project later this year.
“It’s a tricky situation because of the rock wall,” he said.
Urban Commons is hoping to find someone to take the Scorpion off its hands, Zaharoni said, adding that some maritime museums have expressed interest.
The company couldn’t do anything with the aging vessel until recently because of a lawsuit filed by the submarine’s owners over who was responsible for the poor upkeep, he said.
In the lawsuit filed in 2016, submarine owner Newco Pty Ltd. claimed previous Queen Mary operator Save the Queen LLC, neglected maintenance, resulting in raccoon infestations and rust. Save the Queen countered that Newco was responsible for repairs.
The case was dismissed last year, and since the owners likely don’t have the money to move the Scorpion, Urban Commons will have to pay the bill, Zaharoni said.
The Scorpion was commissioned in 1971 and operated with the Russian Pacific Fleet before it was decommissioned in 1994. Palm Springs resident Ed Skowron bought the vessel for $970,000 and transported it to the Queen Mary on a heavy-lift ship in 1998.
Urban Commons is planning to develop the 64-acre waterfront as a premiere entertainment destination. Zaharoni said conceptual plans are expected to be finalized with the city within the next three months.
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