Friday, September 30, 2016

Fox 5 San Diego Reports That Destroyer of Coast Guard Cutter Storis, Mark Jurisich, Has a Heart (Medically Speaking)

For most who served aboard the historic Coast Guard Cutter Storis, the name Mark Jurisich is a name that won't be forgotten. This blog has vowed to serve as a public reminder of his role in the destruction of the ship.

Jurisich was one of the two men who bought the ship from the GSA, under very shady conditions. After buying the ship he attempted to extort a ridiculous asking price to sell it to a group of people who had planned to preserve the ship by turning it into a maritime museum. It has been reported that Jurisich, a native of New Zealand, told the Storis group that he "didn't care about your (United States) history."

After attempts to sell the ship failed, Jurisich conspired with different people associated with various government offices to move the ship across the border where it was sold to a Mexican scrap yard.
For incredible details of the saga, click Coast Guard Cutter Storis 

Up until now, Jurisich had been somewhat of a phantom with regards to what he looks like because, no one was able to locate a photo of him that could be confirmed.
Thanks to Fox 5 San Diego, Mark Jurisich is no longer a stranger to the public. 

The news station did a story in July of 2016 about a new type of stent being used and after having a heart attack, Jurisich was the first person to have the procedure done.
The story proves that Jurisich actually does have a heart. That is from a medical point of view because, as the man largely responsible for destroying a piece of American history, Jurisich is simply a heartless person.

It is interesting to see that Fox 5 reported that Jurisich is an avid surfer. It made me wonder, 'If Jurisich had an accident while surfing... Would the Coast Guard do a damn thing to help him?'
In my opinion, anyone who had a role with the destruction of the Storis... Let them face the wrath of the open seas by themselves!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Congressman Brad Sherman - Who Killed The Cutter Storis? Part I

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif)
The retired Coast Guard Cutter Storis was sold by public auction in June, 2013 to failed businessmen Mark Jurisich and Dr. John Bryan owners of US Metals Recovery, LLC. of San Diego.
In late October, 2013 after Mark Jurisich allegedly failed to extort $250,000 from the Storis Museum group in exchange for the ship, Jurisich finally managed to get the ship moved to a ship breaker yard in Ensenada, Mexico. As the Storis was being moved, news broke that the ship contained illegal levels of PCB's contained in led paint, electrical wiring casing, etc. and the EPA was notified to prevent the ship from leaving the United States.

The cutter Storis, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had hundreds of supporters working to save the ship in order to have her serve  the public as a maritime museum where she was built over 65 years ago in Toledo, Ohio.

Politicians and elected officials were contacted by Storis supporters and asked to intervene in order to keep the ship in US waters. This blog post is devoted to all the politicians and government officials and agencies who were contacted with pleas for help in the situation and did nothing.
This blog post is my way of thanking those who did nothing to save the Storis by creating a public record for anyone to see. You won't see anything about their lack of attention in the matter on any of their websites or in their press releases because, they dropped the ball and it wouldn't cast a positive image of them in the public eye.

The first public official this blog would like to recognize as one of the many who assisted (indirectly) with the killing of the Coast Guard cutter Storis is...
Congressman Brad Sherman 
who represents (quite poorly, I might add) the 30th Congressional District which is the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.

Rep. Sherman was contacted and asked to help with the Storis situation but, he did nothing to help. In fact, he would have at least served himself better had he ignored the email he was sent but, he sent a reply to the Storis supporter. As you can see in his response below, he did not address the situation with the Storis. He didn't even mention the Storis at all. How nice of Rep. Brad Sherman to essentially slap the Storis supporter in the face by responding with a self-promoting FORM LETTER!
Here's hoping that someone will see this blog post and forward it to Congressman Sherman.
Thank you very much for contacting me. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me. Hearing from you is very important to me because it provides me with insight into your thoughts and concerns on the major issues facing Congress today. I look forward to your continued input and will keep your concerns in mind. 
Only part of my job is voting in Washington. Another important part of my job is helping resolve problems that constituents are experiencing with federal agencies. If you are interested in any of these services, please contact my district office at (818) 501-9200 or visit my website at can also follow me on Twitter by visiting, or become my fan on Facebook. My official government Facebook page is registered as "Congressman Brad Sherman." Again, thank you very much for contacting me and sharing your views. I hope to hear from you further in the future. 
Sincerely, Brad ShermanMember of Congress
Thank you, Representative Sherman! Thank you for all of your help in trying to save the Storis... Even though you ignored the call for help. So, I hereby recognize Congressman Brad Sherman as one of the players responsible for the killing of the Coast Guard cutter Storis.

A note to Storis supporters: If you contacted a public official or government agency and your pleas for help were ignored or cast aside, please contact me, Jim Watkins with the information you have and I will add it to this blog in a future dedicated post.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Will Historic Coast Guard Ship Escape Scrap Heap?

Image from Coast Guard Cutter Storis 
Originally published by Vallejo Times-Herald, Jessica A. York - November 1, 2013
A storied former U.S. Coast Guard vessel sent from Suisun Bay's "mothball fleet" to Mexico for scrapping last week has raised concerns over the 71-year-old ship's final stop.
Environmental concerns related to ships in the federal government's Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet have been an ongoing issue for years, often boiling down to a battle between federal officials and environmental agencies.
The latest scuffle includes an emerging third party -- historical preservationists vying to rescue some of those ships from metal scrapping.
Last week, one such battle came to a head. Officials working for years to convince federal officials to hand over the retired U.S. Coast Guard ice cutter Storis to a nonprofit to serve as a museum ship were shocked first when the vessel was auctioned off by the federal General Services Administration this summer, then towed to Mexico last week. A spokeswoman for the General Services Administration did not return a call seeking comment on the issue Thursday.
At the urging of interested parties, the Environmental Protection Agency has launched an investigation into whether the Storis may contain toxin levels illegally high for foreign export, officials confirmed Wednesday.
The Storis -- used for decades for law enforcement, search and rescue and fisheries work in Alaska -- was sold to San Diego-based U.S. Metals Recovery LLC on June 28 for $70,100. There was an initial requirement that the vessel be removed from the Suisun Bay Reserve "Mothball" Fleet by July 12.
"On Oct. 21, EPA received information that the STORIS was potentially being exported by U.S. Metals Recovery to Mexico for scrapping and that the ship could contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in concentrations greater than or equal to 50 parts per million," a spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 wrote in an emailed statement. "EPA immediately began investigating to determine if the vessel contained PCBs, and if so, at what level. This investigation remains ongoing."
The ship has called the federally managed Suisun Bay fleet "home" since its 2007 retirement from the Coast Guard. A spokeswoman for fleet manager U.S. Maritime Administration referred questions about the ship's departure for Texas to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard officials locally and in Washington, D.C. were still looking into a reporter's questions on the issue Thursday.
Jon Ottman, a Michigan marine historian and consultant working with the STORIS Museum and Education Center officials, raised concerns that U.S. Metals Recovery seems to have no physical presence -- website, office phone or physical location -- over which to bring complaints about the out-of-country delivery.
He added that a man associated with the U.S. Metals Recovery and the sale, Mark Jurisich, allegedly asked nonprofit STORIS Museum officials for $250,000 to sell the vessel instead of scrapping it. Efforts to reach Jurisich were unsuccessful.
Prior to the auction in June, volunteers looking to preserve the Storis initially planned to bring the vessel to Juneau, Alaska, where it had spent so much of its career, and to become a museum ship and train young Sea Cadets. Later, an effort from Toledo, Ohio -- where the vessel was built -- took the lead. Also in the running for the ship were the California Ships to Reefs group, looking to have the vessel sunk and used as an artificial reef when word that the bidding process did not result in a buyer reaching the a minimum-set bid price.
The Storis "made history in 1957 when it led two other Coast Guard cutters through icy waters near the North Pole and into the Atlantic Ocean," and "became the first American vessel to circumnavigate the North American continent," according to Bay Area News Group articles written about the ship upon its retirement.
In 2012, the Storis was listed on the National Register of Historic Places with the help of a nomination penned by Ottman. The nomination notes that the Storis is one of the last remaining vessels that participated in the World War II Greenland Patrols.
For more information on the Storis, visit
Contact staff writer Jessica A. York at (707) 553-6834 or Follow her on Twitter @JYVallejo.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

General Services Administration Sale of Historic Coast Guard Cutter Storis A Disgrace

Dr. John Bryan - Co-owner of US Metals Recovery, LLC.

You really have to hand it to the GSA - General Services Administration, for some of the people they choose to do business with in their online auctions. Take the former Coast Guard Cutter Storis, for example. A retired cutter listed on the National Registry of Historic Places after an impressive 64-year service record which includes being the first vessel to circumnavigate the north American Continent.

In June of 2013, the GSA put the Storis up for auction with a minimum reserve price of $100,000. On June 27, 2013 when the auction closed, there had been two bids submitted with the highest bid being $70,100, far less than the reserve. The GSA bent their own rules and accepted the bid of $70,100, submitted by US Metals Recovery, LLC. of San Diego. 
Company records have revealed that US Metals is barely two years old but, extensive research has not found a phone number listed for the company. There has been no records found that lists a physical address for the business. 
Records list the companies co-owners as Mark Jurisich and Dr. John R. Bryan, both of San Diego.

The California Secretary of State shows the LLC's status as:   Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Suspended/Forfeited

The GSA's terms for the buyer of the ship stated that the merchandise was to be removed within 10-business days from the date of the sale. The removal date was grossly ignored by not only Jurisich but, the GSA as well when a total of 120 days passed before Jurisich sent a tug to pick her up.
There must have been a valid reason the GSA could allow such a blatant breach of contract but, several calls and emails to the GSA seeking answers all went un-answered.

Perhaps the GSA would have declined to accept the bid from US Metals Recovery had they known that the young company was not an active California business. Perhaps the GSA would have scrutinized the integrity of the bid, the company and the two owners, Mark Jurisich and Dr. John Bryan.
Perhaps the GSA would have opted to reject the bid had they checked court records. If they had looked into it they would have discovered that US Metals Recovery, Jurisich and Bryan had been sued in San Diego County in April of this year. It comes as no surprise that Jurisich ignored the terms of the contract with the GSA because, the Plaintiff filed suit against them for.... Breach of Contract/Warranty. See the court record below.

Case Title:  
Case Number:  37-2013-00044031-CU-BC-CTL   Case Location:San Diego   
Case Type:Civil  Date Filed:04/12/2013
Category:CU-BCWBreach of Contract/Warranty

Last Name or Business Name  First Name  Primary (P)  

Last Name or Business Name  First Name  Primary (P)  
USMR     P  

Imaged Case  
Documents are available for viewing online,  
and at all Register of Actions Kiosks  
Select [File Location] button above for location details

Microfilm ID  Location  Reel Number  Frame Number  
This case has not been microfilmed.  

The information below shows the company status with the California Secretary of State.
Business Registration | California (Foreign State)
California Secretary of StateData updated October 29, 2013Business Details
State of Incorporation:NV
Business Type:Limited Liability Company
Mailing Address:2102 HANCOCK STE 200
Status:Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Suspended/Forfeited
Secretary of State ID:201009110222
Incorporation Date:02/26/2010
Business Description:USED CAR DEALER
Number of Amendments Filed:1
Total Pages Filed:3
Note the business type they are listed under is "Used Car Dealer."
The GSA must have thought they were dealing with upstanding citizens, I would assume. It turns out that Mark R Jurisich was not born in the US and allegedly commented to the Storis preservation group that he did not care about the history behind the ship nor those trying to save it.

Going back a few years in the court records shows what might be considered a pattern of un-professional behavior with one of the owners, John Bryan. Public court records show Bryan as a Defendant in a civil suit for.... Breach of Contract. (see below)

Primary Name
Party Type
 Secondary or other defendant
Case Number
Filing Date
 Apr 21 1978
Opposing Name
Case Type
 Breach of Contract
Case Category
 Civil Complaint
Court Code
 North County

Court records also show Bryan named as the Defendant in a separate civil suit filed a year later for..... You guessed it, Breach of Contract. (see below)
Primary Name
Party Type
 Secondary or other defendant
Case Number
Filing Date
 Feb 14 1979
Opposing Name
Case Type
 Breach of Contract
Case Category
 Civil Complaint
Court Code
 San Diego

Had the GSA known what type of people they were dealing with, it would be noble of them to claim that people change and deserve a second chance. Note: Nothing suggests the GSA did anything to obtain any background information on the buyers. Had they looked, surely they would have discovered the civil law suit in 1996 where John Bryan was named as one of the Defendants in a case he was accused of.... FRAUD!  (see below)

Primary Name
Party Type
 Secondary or other defendant
Case Number
Filing Date
 Jul 5 1996
Opposing Name
Case Type
Case Category
 Civil Complaint
Court Code
 San Diego

The GSA really should be commended for bending their own rules with the sale terms for the former Coast Guard Cutter Storis.
While the GSA had the option to turn the cutter over to the non-profit group Storis Museum, who had been working since 2007 with its plans to obtain the ship in order to make it into a museum and training tool for Naval Cadets... They chose to deny the group the chance to secure a piece of American history in favor of bending their own rules to do business with two men with histories of being sued for breach of contract and fraud!

The result of the GSA's choosing to conduct business with criminals has been the literal destruction of the former cutter Storis as it was delivered to Ensenada, Mexico on October 29, 2013 where it was sold for scrap.

To the General Services Administration I can only say... "Thank You! We expect nothing less of you."
(the previous statement was purely sarcasm.)
On a serious note, I will say in all seriousness....
"The GSA's handling of the historic Storis was an absolute disgrace and should be held accountable."

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Former Coast Guard Cutter STORIS Putting Up A Fight For The Right To Go Home

Cutter Storis as it is towed out of the Bay Area
Photo by Tony O'Neill - Oct. 25, 2013
If the legacy of the 64-year service record for the former Coast Guard Cutter Storis, a ship on the National Registry of Historic Places, isn't enough to make a 2-hour made-for-TV movie about... The events that have transpired in the past 24 hours will  be worthy of a movie by itself.

The Storis is currently en route to a Mexican scrap yard in Ensenada. The ship is being towed by the tugboat A.N. Tillet of Pacific Tugboat Services and has just passed the half-way point of the trip, approximately 600 miles.
Just about everyone who had been supporting or following the events that have happened after the ship was sold June 27, 2013 had accepted the fact that there was no hope in saving the Galloping Ghost of the Alaskan Coast.

Former crew member Tony O'Neill who works on a tug in the Bay Area, was waiting on the Carquinez Bridge for his last chance to see the Storis as she gets pulled out on her way to the scrap yard in Ensenada. He got a few last pictures of the ship but, as the tug and Storis were moving away

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coast Guard Cutter STORIS - Her Final Voyage

This picture may be the last taken of the STORIS.
Photo by Tony O'Neill

Friday, October 25, 2013, is a sad day. 

The former Coast Guard Cutter STORIS was removed from the Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay, California where the ship had been kept since being decommissioned in 2007 after providing 64-years of service.

The STORIS was the first ship ever to circumnavigate the north American continent and she was rewarded in 2012 when she was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

A former member of the Coast Guard who served on the STORIS, Tony O'Neill, took this picture of the STORIS as she was being towed out of the Bay Area  on her way to Ensenada, Mexico.

As a former crew member of the STORIS, I want to say this to her....

"Goodbye, Old Girl... and Thank You!"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Steve Frailey V.P. of Pacific Tugboat Services: A Stand-Up, Class Act

Tugboat assigned the task of towing CGC Storis 

Earlier today Scott Abgekurtz posted the name of the tug company on Facebook that has contracted to tow the Storis to Mexico. I had intended to lump them in with the Storis owners and immortalizing them on this blog. I wrote an email to the tug company and copied it to every person listed on their site. I also copied it to the greasy owner of the Storis, Mark Jurisich. Shortly after I got a response from Steve Frailey, V.P. of Pacific Tugboat Services. It was actually sent to Scott and forwarded to me but, the email quickly changed my mind and I wanted to pass it along to the group as I think it would change other people's opinions as well. I sent him a reply to ask for his permission to publish his email on my Storis blog and he got back to me with his permission to post it.

The email he sent with his permission to publish his email was actually more impressive than the email seen directly below. I have posted his follow up email following the one below. I highlighted part of it in bold text.

From: Stephen Frailey []
Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 11:55 AM
To: Scott Abgekurtz;
Subject: Re: US Coast Guard Cutter Storis

Good morning Scott,

I appreciate your letter and the moving story behind it. The pictures are priceless and the video is breathtaking. I too am a veteran (US Navy) so I can relate to your bond with the Storis as a fellow sailor. My first ship out of boot camp was USS Lewis B. Puller, FFG-23. She was still under construction and the crew was hand-picked when I got orders to report for duty. I and my shipmates became proud plank-owners as we commissioned "Chesty" Puller and ran her through her paces. It was a formative time in my life and one that created strong bonds and fond memories. Years later I sadly attended the de-commissioning ceremony in San Diego and the transfer to the navy of a middle-east ally. To me this meant a disrespectful name change and certain decline toward slow death for a very special vessel and namesake. 

I still have my plank-owner certificate framed on the wall at home. Now I am a member of the USS Lewis B. Puller Facebook page and I have pictures, hats and my memories that keep the ship and her crew as spiritually ready for action as we were in reality back then. Since I now work with the Navy as part of job I see the ships of the fleet often. I even see sister ships to "Chesty" and wonder why they were spared when my beloved ship was not. Also as part of my job I have been involved in successful projects to save ships to become museums. The USS Midway is a fine local example despite many financial, permitting and political obstacles. 

Sadly I have also been part of the last days of storied ships that touched many lives over many years. It is always with a measure of regret that a legend passes from existence. 
You are correct that we have a business to run and commitments to uphold. We are professional, reliable mariners. Fortunately it is rare that we are tasked to tow a vessel on her final voyage. The USCG Cutter Storis is one the few times we have had the honor to tow such a ship. While we have no right or basis to refuse to perform our duty to our customer, we can promise to carry out our duties with respect and to honor the legacy of the Storis on her final voyage. 

Economics and time are impersonal forces that cause the demise of great ships. I hope that you and your shipmates can continue to celebrate the many lives that were made better having been touched by the Storis. It's the steel and paint that are passing, not the stuff that made her and her crews a legend. If during our upcoming voyage we can take pictures or conduct any particular honor please let me know.  We would also be happy to pass along your sentiments to our customer if you wish.   


Steve Frailey


I sent a reply to Mr. Frailey to ask permission to publish the email (posted above) and I got a reply from him that was to me personally and I was even more impressed with what he said to me in the second email (posted below).

Here is the 2nd email I received from Steve Frailey,V.P. Pacific Tugboat Services.

Mr Watkins, Jim if I may,

You have permission to use my e-mail as you see fit. Further, if you wish to call me my mobile number is: (619) 840-**** (edited by JW).
We are a small business. We all know each other like family and our maritime community is an extension of that family. I wish we had not been contracted to this job having now learned the story leading up to it. Now that we have been contracted and are bound to our duty, I hope that we can fulfill this obligation in a manner that does the Storis proud.  
I have left our captain a voice mail and I hope to hear from him this evening as he gets into cell range. As I was unaware of the nature of this tow assignment until today I am very limited in my ability to change the situation. I can and will however convey to our captain and his crew our intent to conduct ourselves as professional mariners, privileged to see this voyage through safely, with dignity and respect for the Storis and those whose lives have been changed by her for the better.
This day and these circumstances remind of a poem that I would like to share with you, although you may know it already, I think it fits:
 The Unknown Shore by Bishop Brent
"A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says She is gone. Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her.Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her. And just at that moment, when someone at my sidesays she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout -There she comes! That is what dying is. An horizon and just the limit of our sight. Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further."
Stephen FraileyVice President/PrincipalPacific Tugboat Service(800)