An abandoned casino boat with a checkered past is being offered Friday to the high bidder.
The MV Diamond Royale, also known as MV Sun Cruz VII, has been tied up to a pier at the old Navy base in North Charleston for almost two years.
The owner of the 184-foot vessel, Myrtle Beach-based Marina Charters II, owes Detyens Shipyards Inc. about $327,000 for repairs, storage fees and other expenses, according to court documents.
The auction is being handled by the U.S. Marshals Service, which said in a sale notice that the gambling ship is being offered "as-is, where-is and without warranty of any kind."
The Diamond Royale arrived at Detyens in June 2012. The local shipyard filed a lawsuit in federal court more than a year ago seeking permission to seize and sell the ship to recoup its money.
The owner never filed a response. A judge ruled in favor of Detyens in November.
Marina Charters II is registered to Myrtle Beach resident Alvin H. Shuman, whose Diamond Casino Cruz II Inc. filed but never followed up on an application in 2010 to operate from North Charleston after the city ordinance allowed offshore gambling cruises.
A billing invoice that was included in the shipyard's complaint shows that Marina Charters II and Shuman's residence share the same address. He didn't respond to a telephone message seeking comment Thursday.
Before it came to North Charleston for its extended stay, the ship operated offshore gambling cruises about 15 years ago as Sun Cruz VII out of Little River in Horry County.
More recently, as Diamond Royale, it became ensnared in a criminal case down the coast.
Under a previous owner, the floating casino ferried passengers from the Bull River near Savannah on illegal gambling cruises in Georgia and South Carolina waters from July 2010 to November 2011, when federal agents boarded the vessel.
A website for the ship described it as being the "finest casino cruise vessel" with two floors of Las Vegas-style gaming with 240 slot machines and tables for poker, craps, blackjack and roulette.
Charges were filed against the ship's owner, general manager and two captains. During the 16-month period, they generated more than $7 million in illegal proceeds, according to the indictment.
The individuals who were charged pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probation last year.
As for their former ship, it remained tied up across from Pierside Boatworks on Thursday. The Marshals Service will entertain offers for the Diamond Royale starting at 11 a.m. at the federal courthouse at 85 Broad St. in Charleston. The minimum opening bid is $100,000.
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.