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Woman Bids Bon Voyage to Freighter on Her Beach

March 06, 1985|Associated Press

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Venezuelan freighter grounded behind millionaire Mollie Wilmot's mansion since a Thanksgiving storm finally was hauled free today.

The rusting hulk of the Mercedes I, which ran aground against Wilmot's seawall and marred the view from her oceanfront home, was hauled about a quarter of a mile out to sea and anchored for an inspection to see if it was seaworthy for a trip to port.

"It's just sensational to have that big, blue ocean back again," Wilmot said after the uninvited guest departed. "I became terribly used to it, but I never grew terribly fond of it. . . . I can live nicely without it."

Wilmot, whose next-door neighbor is Rose Kennedy, and her friends raised a champagne toast Tuesday night as the freighter that had kept her from using her swimming pool was given the final pull that nudged it on its way.

"Everybody seems to be happy," said Capt. Dan Barlow of the tugboat Seahawk, which towed the freighter out this morning. "Champagne bottles are popping."

After the ship ran aground on Wilmot's property Nov. 23, a tugboat tried in vain to budge it. The freighter, its dozen crew members long since returned to Central and South America, made its first move--three inches--on Jan. 20 but didn't make any real progress until Feb. 4, when it shifted slightly more than two feet.

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