The cleanup work taking place in St. Maarten to demolish a huge number of hulls remaining in the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Irma is being funded by the National Reconstruction Programme, which in turn is funded by the Dutch government and managed by the World Bank.
One of the wrecks being removed is the fishing boat / motor yacht Silver Queen. She sank twice in St. Maarten: once in February 2017, and, after being floated, again just seven months later in Irma. She had a history.
Silver Queen was a 24.38-metre (80.5-foot) Ray Teller design built by Huckins as Give Up and delivered in 1969.
According to later yacht brokers’ specifications, the Huckins standard “quadraconic” hull construction used diagonally opposed Philippine mahogany planking over white oak framing, with a laminated oak keel and transom frame; fastenings were of silicone bronze and monel. Hull was subdivided into five watertight bulkheads with individual bilge pumps. The entire hull was at some point enveloped in epoxy resin fiberglass. Her top speed was 23 knots and she boasted a maximum cruising range of 850 nautical miles at 21 knots, with power coming from twin diesel engines. She could accommodate up to six passengers and four crewmembers.
At the time she was built, she was the largest sportfishing yacht in the United States. The Huckins website says, “Florida-based Huckins (founded there in 1928) claims responsibility for building the first mega-sport-fisherman — an 80-footer — back in 1969. It met with great skepticism, and not a single magazine spoke of it, as it was considered ‘way too large to be an effective sport-fishing boat’ — the perils of being too progressive.”
She was named Give Up from 1969 until 1974, when engineering consultants Brown and Root bought her and renamed her Silver Queen. Brown and Root was bought out by Halliburton, Inc., whose chairman was Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States. Haliburton reportedly spent approximately US$10 million dollars on a complete refit at the Huckins yard in 1999-2000. Another $5 million was spent on her by Roscioli shipyards.
According to a report at www.soualigapost.com, Silver Queen arrived in Marigot, St. Maarten in early February, 2017, to be used as the mother ship for the shooting team of the TV show “Below Deck.” On February 10th at around 12:00am, Silver Queen sank in Marina Fort Louis’s waters after damaging its propeller shaft with a mooring rope. Shortly thereafter, she was refloated by a private salvage company. Hurricane Irma hit St. Maarten on September 6th.
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