Scorpion submarine pending sale to mystery buyer

The Soviet-built Scorpion submarine that has been moored next to the Queen Mary as a tourist attraction for two decades is expected to be sold to an anonymous buyer who reportedly has plans to remove the vessel.

The Cold War-era sub is owned by the Palm Springs-based Newco Pty Ltd., which is leasing the vessel to Queen Mary operator Urban Commons. The sub was closed to the public in 2015 after it fell into disrepair.

On Tuesday, Robert Lisnow, a lawyer for Newco Pty, said a sale is “in the works,” but declined to identify the buyer or offer more details.

Urban Commons Principal Taylor Woods in a statement Tuesday said Urban Commons is “currently negotiating the terms of the sale of the submarine with a prospective buyer,” but no sale has yet been finalized.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a bill of sale had been sent to the proposed buyer, who asked to remain anonymous. The buyer plans to remove the sub next year after the sale goes through, the Times reported.

Urban Commons previously had its own plans to remove the rusted vessel, which spans the length of a football field, to make way for its massive development project called Queen Mary Island.

Earlier this year, Urban Commons principal Dan Zaharoni said removing the vessel will likely be difficult and costly since it’s surrounded by a rock wall. Zaharoni said the company had been hoping to find someone to take the Scorpion off its hands and that some maritime museums had expressed interest.

The Scorpion was the source of a lawsuit filed in 2016 over who was responsible for repairs. Newco Pty, who filed the lawsuit, alleged that previous Queen Mary operator Save the Queen LLC., let the sub fall into such a state of disrepair that it was riddled with rust and had a raccoon infestation.

Save the Queen countered that Newco Pty was responsible for the upkeep. The case was dismissed last year.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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