El Conquistador

The El Conquistador sits in Coos Bay after it was grounded during low tide while being moved to Empire on Tuesday. 

COOS BAY — The El Conquistador was on the move again Tuesday — almost.

The storied vessel sat moored in Coos Bay for years, and was finally on its way out of the bay when the low tide struck and stalled the yacht in the bay on the south end of North Bend. It remained moored in the middle of the bay, across from the Mill Casino, for at least a day.

U.S. Coast Guard crews monitored the incident, but had no concerns about the safety of the three crew members aboard the vessel, according to Coast Guard spokesperson Jordan Long. The vessel was on its way to docks near Empire, Long said.

By Friday morning, the vessel was in the bay north of the Empire dock.

Court records show that the vessel was sold for around $60,000 at a U.S. Marshal's Service auction in 2004. Its previous owners left it on port property in 2002 after entering the bay without a pilot and without notifying Coast Guard officials, according to The World's archives.

That sale was the last time the U.S. Marshals were involved, an agency spokesperson said.

The owners of the vessel, which was then flying under a Panamanian flag, told The World in 2002 that they'd come from Crescent City, California, to Coos Bay for less expensive moorage. Their plan at the time was to use the vessel to run 10-day cruises off the Venezuelan coast.

That never happened: 17 months after it arrived, the vessel was still moored in Coos Bay, and the owners were defaulting on their moorage fees, The World's archives show. Port officials asked a federal court to condemn the vessel (they couldn't take it themselves, since federal law doesn't allow local officials to seize foreign vessels), and the U.S. Marshal's Service took it to auction.

Reinard Pollmann, a Florence property manager, purchased the vessel, and had plans to turn it into a restaurant or cruise boat, he told The World in 2006.

By late 2007, Pollmann turned over the day-to-day operations of the vessel to San Fransico native Allan Powell, The World reported, with new plans to keep the vessel in the Bay Area as a private cruise ship.

Court records don't show any further action on the vessel since then, and on Thursday Long didn't know the specifics of why the vessel was moved. A port spokesperson said the port wasn't involved in Tuesday's move, and Pollmann didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.


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