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State to back Oliver Hazard Perry funding

Sep 22, 2011
<p>A welder works below deck aboard Rhode Island’s tall ship <em>Oliver Hazard Perry</em> as the steel ship is prepared for a 2013 launch.</p>

A welder works below deck aboard Rhode Island’s tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry as the steel ship is prepared for a 2013 launch.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation allowing the state to guarantee construction loans for the sail training and education-at-sea ship, Oliver Hazard Perry. Work on the three-masted, 207-foot ship is set to be completed in 2013.

Rhode Island will back loans for the construction, but the state won’t contribute any funds or be responsible if the private non-profit organization defaults.

The organization, Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, is raising $6.6 million to build a replica of an early 19th century vessel named in honor of the War of 1812 naval hero. The ship will serve as a floating classroom. The group says it will be a teaching tool for high school and college students learning history, oceanography or shipbuilding. It will also serve as the Ocean State’s maritime ambassador joining the world fleet of Class A Tall Ships.

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