Ocean City Today

Spanish Galleon could sail back to Ocean City this year

Ship replica last moored in resort in 2014, officials would need to strike deal
By Katie Tabeling | May 18, 2017
File Photoo

(May 19, 2017) A 16th century Spanish Galleon replica could be sailing back into Ocean City this summer, but the Recreation Department’s special events staff wants to evaluate the costs before inking a deal.

Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller told the Recreation and Parks Commission last week that early discussions had taken place with the Nao Victoria Foundation to bring back the El Galeon Andalucia between Aug. 2-20. The 170-foot tall replica ship visited the resort in August 2013 and 2014.

During those summers, Ocean City worked with the National Air, Sea & Space Foundation, which served as a middleman for the ship. This time, resort officials would work with the Nao Victoria Foundation, the nonprofit that sponsors the vessel.

With the National Air, Sea & Space Foundation bowing out, Miller said the city would now be responsible for some expenses.

“There were definitely costs the foundation had absorbed last time, and that would fall on us. For example, we’d be looking at costs associated with TowBoatUS, the company that checked the water depth and escorted the vessel in and out,” Miller said. “There were times in 2014 they couldn’t bring the vessel in, so they had to taxi staff coming in and out to their hotels.”

In early talks, the Nao Victoria Foundation agreed to front some costs, like a few hotel rooms, fuel expenses, ticketing and tent setup. But Miller said that Ocean City would provide water usage, security, portable bathrooms and trash collection. He added that the city is looking in to provide an electric support with Delmarva Power, but the ship could operate on its generator if a connection couldn’t be established.

As for the matter of security, Miller said Ocean City Police traditionally provides support, but a contractor could be hired if necessary.

While Ocean City would take on additional costs, Miller said the deal for projected revenues would stay the same.

“Typically, the vessel would provide 10 percent net profit of ticket sales and 30 percent net profit from whatever receptions they have aboard the vessel,” he said. “It’s the same deal that the [National Air, Sea & Space] foundation had.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman, who serves as the commission’s chair, pointed out that this deal would depend on Nao Victoria Foundation’s word.

“This isn’t 10 percent if they sell 100 tickets at $10. It’s 10 percent of what they deem as their profit,” Hartman said. “But we can’t control their business and operational costs.”

History also shows there was a demand for receptions aboard the El Galeon Andalucia. In 2014, three receptions were held in the 14-day period the ship was in Ocean City.

Special events staff would evaluate the costs of mooring the Galleon to Ocean City and would later present its findings to the City Council along with a draft of a memorandum of understanding.

“We’re talking about setting this for the end of August, so the sooner the better,” Hartman said.

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