ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For sale to the highest bidder: one Russian submarine (nuclear missiles and torpedoes not included).
That offer is being made on the Internet for U-484, a Cold War relic.
It was once considered a major threat to the United States but is now a weaponless tourist attraction tied to a pier in St. Petersburg on Florida's west coast.
The 300-foot diesel submarine was built in 1964 and served in the Soviet and Russian Navy until 1994. It carried four nuclear cruise missiles and 22 torpedoes, had a crew of 82 and was designed for launching Soviet strikes on U.S. East Coast cities.
After it was decommissioned, the sub was sold to a Finnish company, Oy-Sub Expo, in 1994 and put on display in Helsinki. In 1997, it was leased to a Canadian company, Russian Submarine B.C., which had it towed across the Atlantic Ocean to become a tourist attraction in St. Petersburg.
The sub was supposed to go to the city's municipal pier, but the water was too shallow and it wound up at an out-of-the-way pier.
The sub still attracted more than 50,000 visitors in a little more than a year, but the Canadian company went bankrupt and the ship has been closed for nearly six months.
St. Petersburg officials want it moved as soon as possible, and the owner is offering the sub for sale through a Web site at www.subexpo.com.
The Web site said U-484 is the largest non-nuclear submarine available for sale and called the ship "a genuine tourist attraction" with space on board for a restaurant or meeting rooms.
Whoever buys the sub will have to move it and settle claims by St. Petersburg of more than $200,000 in overdue port fees.