Falls of Clyde

Falls of Clyde The National Historic Landmark FALLS OF CLYDE is the world's only remaining example of an iron-hulled, four-masted, sail-driven oil tanker.

Launched on December 12, 1878, she is the oldest of five Clyde-built tall ships still afloat.

Operating as usual


As the new year began, the new piece of information we received was that David O’Neill of Save Falls of Clyde International has approached the Harbors Division asking them to work with his organization by contributing money to have a German company come to move the Falls of Clyde to Scotland. The logic is that by contributing money the State can save on the cost of removing the ship if they had to do it on their own. This does make sense and Friends of Falls of Clyde made the same request many months ago only to be told it could not be done. Friends of Falls of Clyde wrote to the Harbors Division decision makers supporting the Save Falls of Clyde International proposition as a reasonable one to meet their ultimate goal of removing the ship and the goal of those who recognize the historical importance of saving the ship.
We believe that local supporters will help with funding a return to Scotland once a firm date is made for the trip home.


As the year draws to an end, the fate of Falls of Clyde still hangs in the balance. Friends of Falls of Clyde tried to help out Save Falls of Clyde International by asking Harbors Division to remove the bond requirement which no organization could meet. We also asked to be kept in the communication loop with regard to their actions, but received no response at all. As previously reported, Harbors also denied access to the ship to celebrate her 141st birthday. Finally, in the latest edition of Honolulu Magazine, Falls of Clyde and FFOC were mentioned in their annual “Sour Poi Awards: The Best of the Worst.” Basically they lamented our situation and reiterated the long-time mantra of Harbors Division that the ship is a safety hazard.

As we enter 2020, we continue to believe that Falls of Clyde must and will be saved.


1 October-15 November 2019
The good news during this period is that we learned that direct communication has been set up between Save Falls of Clyde International (SFOCI) and the Harbors Division. SFOCI is still progressing in getting support for the future of Falls of Clyde, but the arrangements to remove the ship from Honolulu Harbor have still not come together. Apparently the new deadline is sometime in December 2019. We noted that the Harbors Division is still requiring a $1.5 million performance bond as part of the project to move the ship. That requirement resulted in the failure of Harbor’s auction process. Because FFOC has insurance underwriting expertise on the board, we contacted the leadership at the Harbors Division, pointed out that the bond requirement could never be met, and asked that they remove that requirement and work with SFOCI to come to reasonable terms to meet what should be a mutual goal.


Although there has been no significant activity this month, September has been an important month. It was September 2008 when Friends of Falls of Clyde acquired ownership of Falls of Clyde from Bishop Museum.
September 2017 was the first month that a heavy lift ship was to pick up Falls of Clyde to take her to Scotland, which unfortunately never happened. September 2018 was the deadline agreed to with Harbors Division that Save Falls of Clyde International was to arrange for Falls of Clyde to be to be picked up for its journey to Scotland and again this did not occur.
September 2019 was another silent month from Save Falls of Clyde International. However, FFOC did hear about a possible source for moving Falls of Clyde to the West Coast. It is a longshot, but we must pursue any option that could materialize to save our beloved ship.


Unfortunately, we have nothing substantive to report this month. There has been no update from Save Falls of Clyde International. The board of FFOC is open to any suggestions about how we can meet Harbors Division’s requirement to remove the Falls of Clyde from Honolulu Harbor. The weather has been good so Harbors Division has not taken steps to push the removal.
For some reason, the question of ownership has come up. Friends of Falls of Clyde is the legal owner, although Harbors Division has control due to the impoundment. However, they have given us clear steps to get release of the ship to Friends of Falls of Clyde:
1. The identification of local 24-hour contacts for both Friends of Falls of Clyde and the heavy-lift ship who are authorized to speak for and act on behalf of the two vessels;
2. Arrival of a designated heavy-lift ship to Honolulu Harbor;
3. Compliance by Friends of Falls of Clyde and the captain and crew of the heavy-lift ship with U.S. Coast Guard guidance on ship movements within Sector Honolulu; and.
4. Compliance by the Friends of Falls of Clyde with all applicable federal and state laws.
We can meet these requirements and are prepared to work with Save Falls of Clyde International to coordinate with the heavy-lift ship or alternate carrier that they put under contract.

​1-31 July 2019
​1-31 July 2019

​1-31 July 2019

Our contact with the State oversight offices did get us responses from Harbors Division. Unfortunately the reply to our March 12 letter was not answers to the issues we raised, but only a comment...


The current situation is that Harbors Division has asked us to remove property from the ship that we consider personal property, which we interpret as including many of the historic artifacts and documents that must be preserved. We will need storage space to preserve what we remove from the ship. They have also asked us to remove our lock from the gate that gives them total control over access to the pier and ship.
We believe we still have rights as legal owner and are seeking legal advice to counter the steps Harbors Division is taking.


The Friends of Falls of Clyde (FoFOC) have learned that plans have fallen through to relocate the history Falls of Clyde ship to it original home in Scotland. Save the Falls of Clyde – International, the group endeavoring to move the historic ship from Hawaii back to Scotland for restoration, has cancelled the February 2019 move, citing that they are not yet ready.

“We were taken by surprise by this decision but remain hopeful that the Falls of Clyde – International’s efforts can get back on track,” said Bruce McEwan, president of the Friends of Falls of Clyde. “Our concern is that time is running out, as the State DOT-Harbors Division has given a February 6, 2019 deadline to remove the ship.”

16-31 July 2018
16-31 July 2018

16-31 July 2018

As we continue to prepare for the ship’s return to Scotland, we are excited about what we are finding as we find storage space for loose items. It seems that Falls of Clyde feels it’s time to...

16 May-15 July 2018
16 May-15 July 2018

16 May-15 July 2018

FFOC continues to work to prepare the ship for her trip to Scotland. There are many little things to do. We want the move to go smoothly. David O'Neill of Save Falls of Clyde International has sent...


We just had a meeting with the Harbors Division folks to update them on David O’Neill’s progress. They were pleased with his progress and want to work with all of us on the moving details when they become available. There is a plan underway to have a big event to celebrate the Falls of Clyde return to Scotland, where she will be restored and recognized for the important maritime artefact that she is.

1 February-15 March 2018
1 February-15 March 2018

1 February-15 March 2018

​The main deck recoating has been completed. The weather has not been totally cooperative. We are working on roof repairs where needed. We will continue to work on small projects in preparation...

16-31 January 2018
16-31 January 2018

16-31 January 2018

​Work continues on the projects we’ve started. The hatch covers are complete and painted. Next comes main deck repairs and coating. As a finish to the hatch cover doors, Bill MacGillivray carved...

1-15 January 2018
1-15 January 2018

1-15 January 2018

The new year has started off with major carpentry work on Falls of Clyde. Now that we know the time frame for the ship to return to Scotland in the summer 2018, we are replacing much of the...

16-31 December 2017
16-31 December 2017

16-31 December 2017

​The Scottish Plan to return Falls of Clyde to Scotland got some positive publicity with a front page story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on December 28 with an in-depth interview with our...

1-15 December 2017
1-15 December 2017

1-15 December 2017

​Friends of Falls of Clyde underwrote David O’Neill and his wife’s trip to Honolulu, which was very successful. David held several meetings to discuss his plan for Falls of Clyde when she...

16 October-30 November 2017
16 October-30 November 2017

16 October-30 November 2017

Friends of Falls of Clyde hosted Capt. Ken Bekkevold of Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT), the marine company that David O’Neill, our Scottish partner, is working with to transport Falls of Clyde to...

16 September-15 October 2017
16 September-15 October 2017

16 September-15 October 2017

​David O’Neill, our Scottish partner, is still negotiating with heavy lift ship companies to schedule a trip to Hawaii to pick up Falls of Clyde and take her to Scotland. The Norwegian company...

We heard from Scotland that the September timeframe for a heavy lift ship to pick up Falls of Clyde for transit to Scotl...

We heard from Scotland that the September timeframe for a heavy lift ship to pick up Falls of Clyde for transit to Scotland has been delayed. The company has a commercial job that precluded being able to come to Hawaii. There are ongoing discussions to find another window.
We have just moved some of the ship’s property that will go with the ship from the pier onto the deck. Heavy work but we managed it well.


We continue to plan for the various activities we need to complete in preparation for turning ownership of Falls of Clyde over to the Scots for her return home to Scotland and restoration. We are awaiting a date certain for the heavy lift ship pickup in order to finalize our work.
September is the month that Foodland runs its “Give Aloha” program. Friends of Falls of Clyde is one of the many nonprofit organizations to which shoppers at Foodland during the month of September can make a tax deductible donation while shopping at one of their stores. We encourage supporters of Falls of Clyde to shop at Foodland and include a donation to Friends of Falls of Clyde. Our organization number for a donation is 78512. Donations will go towards the costs of our preparation for the move to Scotland.

16-30 June 2017
16-30 June 2017

16-30 June 2017

These past two week have been very positive for Friends of Falls of Clyde. First, we had a meeting with representatives of the Harbors Division, who discussed with us what they learned in dealing...


Everyone who visits this page has an opportunity to meet the challenge we face to return Falls of Clyde to her home in Scotland. She can be restored as a tall ship and again take her place among the other maritime treasures.


There is now confirmation that the Governor did respond the Scottish Minister of Parliament Allison Thewliss. In the letter, which came from Mike McCartney, Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff, there is an acknowledgement of the Falls of Clyde’s long history in Hawaii, however, there is a belief that there are not enough resources to restore the ship in Hawaii. They indicate a willingness to open a discussion with the Old Gorbals Heritage Trust, headed by David O’Neill. The State wants details about the plan to return the ship to Scotland. Through MP Thewliss’s office, the Department of Transportation will set up a communication with O’Neill. The Scots are accepting the letter as positive. According to McCartney, “the state’s interest is to remove the vessel, not to sink it. However, time is of the essence and removal must occur soon.” Our hope is that they will also be reasonable with the timing as there are many moving pieces that must come together before the ship can be moved.


1-15 March 2017
We were able to conduct our monthly maintenance check of the vessel and also our quarterly pump test. We took the opportunity to move ballast water and get the ship back in trim. All is well.
What is a bit disturbing is that the Harbors Division has been approached by a couple of parties interested in buying the ship. They have not entered into any dialog with the parties, but we are checking with legal sources to determine our rights as owner under the circumstances.
We have been told that the Governor has responded to the Scottish Minister of Parliament and that the response is positive with regard to support for returning Falls of Clyde to Scotland. We will ask for a copy of the letter for our records.
At the suggestion of our Scottish partner, David O’Neill, we took a picture aboard the ship waving the Scottish national flag, the Saltire. The photo was put on both Twitter and Instagram.

1-28 February 2017
1-28 February 2017

1-28 February 2017

The month a February was a relatively quiet one of wait and see. We are waiting to hear from our Scotland contact about responses to letters from his Minister of Scottish Parliament and also a...

1-31-January 2017
1-31-January 2017

1-31-January 2017

This could be the best year in a long time for the future preservation of Falls of Clyde . While there is still a lull here in Hawaii, there is an active and growing plan coming together to return...


We looked forward on 12 December 2016 to celebrate the 138th birth date of the launching of Falls of Clyde. However, Harbors Division declined to give access because it was not for maintenance work. A small group gathered pierside, where we were allowed access, and President McEwan gave his words of appreciation for the ship followed by his annual whisky blessing.
A meeting with Governor Ige was arranged by community activist and preservation champion, Michelle Matson. Just before the meeting date set for 28 December, we received notice that our appeal of the hearing Decision & Order from August, which was heard in November by DOT Director Fuchigami, did not overturn the original decision. Again, the technical argument of the State held sway over our argument that the basis for the Harbors Division’s impoundment was arbitrary and based upon a prejudiced position.
Our meeting on 28 December ended up not being with the Governor, as he had more pressing matters. However, were did meet with his Chief of Staff, Mike McCartney, for 1 ½ hours, which we felt was a positive sign. He made positive comments about both sides needing to improve communication and find ways to collaborate. Our focus was on the work being done in Scotland to put together a viable plan to bring Falls of Clyde home to where she was built as the best way to see that she is preserved and restored at this point in time. We have received reports of forward movement in Scotland and hopefully will have a firm commitment in early 2017. We made the point to Mr. McCartney that, even though DOT is sticking with their technical position, the Governor can decide that moving the ship to Scotland is a way to meet the needs of the Harbors Division, so giving Friends of Falls of Clyde back control so that we can work to prepare the ship for her trip home makes sense. McCartney said he will be meeting with Harbors Division and we will hear more after that. We do hope at some point we will be able to make our case directly to the Governor.
Now that a stressful 2016 has drawn to a close, Friends of Falls of Clyde wants to send a mahalo nui to all of our supporters who signed the petition and wrote to Harbors and the Governor. We wish you all a very Happy New Year/Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!


The November 22 hearing was held at the Dept. of Transportation before the DOT Director. We argued that the State’s preservation law applied to the impoundment action taken by the Harbors Division and that their action was in violation of the law and made the impoundment illegal. We also contested several comments of alleged fact upon which the hearing officer based his decision. The Director took the testimonies under advisement and said he would make his decision, but gave no specific timeframe.
During the testimony we were able to reinforce the Scotland initiative to bring Falls of Clyde home to Scotland. We are hoping that this will be a common sense resolution that can get Harbors to retract the impoundment and give us a permit while we raise funds to help the Scots and prepare the ship for her long voyage home. We are also hoping to get a meeting with the Governor to make our case with him. It is hard to believe that the State would not support this effort, which meets the Harbor Division’s goal.


November 16, 2016

Governor David Ige
Executive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, HI 9613

Dear Governor Ige:

Friends of Falls of Clyde is aware of your letter to supporters who have contacted your office to question the impoundment of the National Historic Landmark vessel Falls of Clyde. In reviewing your response to these people, our board feels we need to respond about some comments that are puzzling to us.

First, we do thank you for your comment about the State’s support for the work of our organization. The free berthing was given to us without a request on our part and clearly showed the State’s support, as did the 2009 legislative Concurrent Resolution, which recognized Falls of Clyde as a symbol of Hawaii maritime history and a treasure to be cherished and protected by the State and residents of Hawaii. I believe you were a signatory on the resolution.

Our concern has to do with comments in the second paragraph, where you indicate the factors considered before the ship was impounded. We have the following responses:
1. Condition and location of the vessel. We provided Harbors Division and other administrative departments with an October 2016 condition survey which stated that Falls of Clyde is not a safety hazard. The location of the ship is on the ewa side of Pier 7, which is a wooden pier and not really a commercial use pier. The ship has been berthed there for about 45 years.
2. Resources available to properly care for it. We find this a bit vague as we have been caring for the ship since 2008 and have done so effectively until the ship was impounded. We have always had the resources we need.
3. Duty of the State to ensure Honolulu Harbor remains navigable. The ship has double mooring lines that were put in place in 2009 to handle any heavy weather conditions. Our plan is on file with the U.S. Coast Guard and Harbors Division. There is no chance that the ship can impact harbor navigation.
4. It is ultimately the responsibility of her owners to ensure that this landmark is cared for, preserved, and restored. This is particularly puzzling because, we, as owner, have this as our mission and our fiduciary responsibility and have done so since we took ownership in 2008 from Bishop Museum. The impoundment is undercutting our role which you have clearly stated.

You should know that we are currently actively working with an interest group in Scotland, who want to have the ship returned to Scotland in order to carry out the preservation and restoration since our work here is no longer being supported by the State.

Given the steps we have taken to get an updated condition survey and the active work to have the ship moved to Scotland, which meets the Harbors Division’s goal, we have asked Harbors Division to retract the impoundment and reinstate the revocable permit. We have also asked Harbors Division for a contact so that the people in Scotland can open a communication channel. Neither of the letters covering these issues has been answered by Harbors Division, which we find disrespectful.

We are asking for your kokua at this time to have the State take the most practical and logical step to support us in getting Falls of Clyde back to the place where she was built in 1878. We believe it makes sense to give us control of our vessel so that we can raise funds for the return of the ship to a place and people that recognize her value in maritime history.


Bruce McEwan, President


1 Aloha Tower Dr
Honolulu, HI


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I found some photos of the FOC in 1976. How can I post them?
She's being towed out to sea. I don't have any news on where she is being taken.
It's very nice to meet you. I come from Germany and hope very much that the Falls of Clyde will be rescued from the scrapper. That the Falls of Clyde would come home. I belong to the association Freunde der Viermastbark Peking e. V. , which takes care of the Viermastbark Peking. However, I don't speak English very well and therefore I use a translation program.
I happened on this site through a post in a sailing magazine, Good Old Boat. The Falls of Clyde has particular interest for me, as my great grandfather ( Hans Engels ) was her captain for the time she spent ferrying oil from California to Hawaii. While I never met him, my grandfather told me stories of her many adventures in the commercial trade. Let's hope she can be saved.
Tomorrow is "Giving Tuesday" and Facebook will match up to $7 million dollars to qualified U.S. 501(c)(3) charities starting at 8 am ET.
Crew washing down the deck of the Falls of Clyde (built 1878; bark, 4m) somewhere in Hawaii, 1916 or 1917 https://npgallery.nps.gov/SAFR/AssetDetail/c7854cc7-785d-4815-8fbd-7fafe4838d49 Plenty of Falls of Clyde images on this site By the way I could not post a photo to this site
Is there any help needed on the ship? We take instruction well. Just saw your note in the Hawaii Scottish Festival brochure from the weekend. Is the ship going this summer (hopefully). Thanks for all your work.
I just saw it go by my apartment I think here on Diamond Head!!! Or at least it looks exactly like it!!