MV Mary Murray
The MV Mary Murray was a 277 feet long Staten Island Ferry vessel launched in 1937. It was decommissioned in 1975, and sold at auction with its new owner intending to turn it into a restaurant or museum. It sat tied up at a creek on the Raritan River within view of the New Jersey Turnpike until it was dismantled for scrap in 2008–2012.
The Mary Murray was named for the American Revolutionary War figure Mary Lindley Murray. It was built and launched from the United Dry Docks on Staten Island in 1937 during a grand ceremony with Mayor LaGuardia and 500 other spectators in attendance. She was 277 feet long and cost $912,000 to build. “One of it’s innovations, besides the streamlined design, will be a smoking cabin for women”, hailed the NY Times.
It was made surplus and sold at auction shortly after the vessel was decommissioned in 1975 to George Searle, a former merchant mariner, who had intentions of turning it into a restaurant or museum. Shortly after purchasing the Mary Murray, Mr. Searle had the vessel towed to a spot near his marina on the south side of the Raritan River. The state sued Mr. Searle in 1981 because the boat was docked in the middle of the river. In 1982 he moved the vessel to his property on the side of the river, tying it to the bank partially up "No-Name Creak", where it stayed until it was dismantled. The location contained other vessels and barges purchased by Searle including a ship purported to be owned by a former Shah of Iran. It became something of a local landmark for motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike. It also became an illicit attraction for explorers and photographers who would attempt to sneak into the marina (by foot or kayak). In 1999, after environmental officials lodged another complaint, Mr. Searle brokered another deal under which he would be allowed to annually renew a special permit to keep the boat in place for seven years.
For a time, the vessel's derelict status fueled a controversy as to whether or not it should be removed as it is currently located adjacent to the Basilone Bridge at Exit 9 on the NJ Turnpike in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey. Environmentalists were concerned that it could be contaminating the waterway.
George Searle died on March 20, 2009.
In March 2008 it was announced that the ferry would be dismantled and used for scrap metal. Aerial images show the ferry's superstructure half removed by October 2008, dismantled all the way down to the hull in by 2010, and ferry as well as all the other barge and boat hulls totally gone by 2012.
- NEW CITY FERRYBOAT GOES DOWN THE WAYS; The Mary Murray Is Second of Three Streamlined Craft--Mayor Attends Ceremony, New York Times, June 4, 1937
- RICHARD G. JONES, From Ferrying Thousands Daily to Rusting Away by the Turnpike, The New York Times, March 5, 2007
- From Ferrying Thousands Daily to Rusting Away by the Turnpike, The New York Times, March 11, 2007
- Exploring The Mary Murray
- Owner of beached Staten Island ferryboat Mary Murray dies
- Stranded ferry to be dismantled, Asbury Park Press, March 20, 2008[dead link]