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Nantucket Lightship in Oyster Bay sold; move in the works

After languishing for more than six years at the Waterfront Center in Oyster Bay, the historic Nantucket Lightship has been sold to a group that plans to move it to Boston next month and restore it.

Jerry Roberts, a board member of the National Lighthouse Museum, which for more than a decade has been trying to establish a museum on the Staten Island waterfront, said he and Robert Mannino Jr., head of the new U.S. Lightship Museum group, signed transfer documents Tuesday.

The 73-year-old lightship was sold to the Boston group for $1. The ship was based in Boston throughout its active career when it was not stationed off Nantucket Island.

Because the planned museum site in Staten Island could not accommodate the lightship, it was brought temporarily to Oyster Bay, where it deteriorated as the museum plans for a city-owned site stalled after Sept. 11, 2001. A succession of planned transfers to other Northeast cities fell through.

Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto had said the ship could remain at the town pier at no charge until its future was assured. "As long as the lightship is going to be in good hands and be utilized for an appropriate purpose, I'm very satisfied with it," he said of the transfer. "It's time to put it to good use."

Roberts said the new group has raised almost $200,000 for a restoration.

The 150-foot-long ship was retired in 1975 and designated a national historic landmark in 1989. It was docked at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan before being acquired by the HMS Rose Foundation in Bridgeport, Conn., which sold it to the lighthouse museum in 2002 for $1.

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