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New plans arise to restore La Nina, the last of the Columbus ships

Posted: 12:40 PM, Apr 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-03 18:45:22-04

The last remaining ship of the Columbus fleet, the Nina, currently sits in need of repairs at the Corpus Christi Marina.

But that doesn’t bother the city of Aransas Pass.

“We really want to help keep her here and restore her to where she once was,” Rosemary Vega, the CEO of the Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce, says.

Vega and other Aransas Pass city officials recently took a tour of the ship.

She says they all agreed that the next home for the iconic ship should be Aransas Pass.

“We all went out to go look at the ship,” she said. “We got a tour of the ship, we got on it and we absolutely fell in love with it. You really don’t have an appreciation for something like that until you get to the point where you can actually see it.”

Later this month, the ship will be moved to the Aransas Pass Harbor to get an estimate on the repairs she needs. But ultimately, it will be up to the Corpus Christi City Council to decide where she will end up.

The Corpus Christi Marina Superintendent and the Columbus Sailing Association who currently cares for the ship, say there are six cities in the running for ownership of the last Columbus ship.

Meanwhile, Vega says they already have an anonymous donor who has offered to fully restore her if she stays on in our area.

“We’re very, very passionate about it and our community is excited about it,” Vega said. “We know that once it’s here, we’re going to get a lot more support than we already have.”

La Nina was one of three Columbus ships built in Spain, along with the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

The fleet sailed across the Atlantic in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first Columbus voyage.

The three ships were a gift to the city by the government of Spain.

Sadly, the ships were neglected. And by 2000, they were no longer seaworthy.

The non-profit “Columbus Sailing Association” was created in 2006 to raise money for ship maintenance.

The Pinta and the Santa Maria rotted away and were destroyed in 2014.

And in 2017, La Nina was damaged by Hurricane Harvey.