Elektra owners seek volunteers to help paint dazzling display

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A FORMER US Army tug painted in a ‘dazzle’ colour scheme could be seaworthy again before the end of the summer – and Islanders are being asked to help finish its restoration.

Blake Ross and Tony Cooper, directors of Nova Environmental Services, took ownership of Elektra – currently moored in the English Harbour – in 2021 for £15,000.

The 1950s ex-US Army steel tug-boat was brought to Jersey in 1995 and painted with ‘dazzle’ colours by local artist Ian Rolls in 2015 to mark the centenary of the Great War.

The ‘dazzle’ design – a complex pattern of geometric shapes in contrasting colours – was used during both world wars.

Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention was not to conceal but to make it difficult for the enemy to estimate a target ship’s range, speed and heading.

Elektra’s new Milton Keynes-based owners, who operate a reclamation and restoration business, are hoping to restore the boat to full working order before taking it to the UK.

Mr Cooper said that engineers who usually work on the Thames Clippers vessels had been coming to Jersey every couple of months to help with the restoration.

‘We have bought a massive generator off a super-yacht in Spain, but the propeller also needs to go back on and we need to install all of the ancillaries and add a new lick of paint – she should be ready to roll in the next three or four months,’ he added.

Mr Cooper said that since purchasing Elektra a further £30,000 had been spent fixing it, with an estimated £50,000 still needed to complete the work.

‘We are keeping the dazzle design and are looking for volunteers to help paint it,’ he added.

Once finished, Mr Cooper said Elektra was likely to be taken to London, where she could be used for salvage work, or even made available as a place for people to visit and stay on using the self-catering accommodation site Airbnb.

Those interested in helping to paint Elektra can contact Mr Cooper on 07498 805218.

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