Abandoned casino ship sells for $100,000

The MV Diamond Royale hasn't left the former Navy base in North Charleston in nearly two years.

It's game over for the long-idled gambling vessel MV Diamond Royale.

The 184-foot ship, also known as MV Sun Cruz VII, was sold for $100,000 at a federal auction Friday in downtown Charleston.

The buyer, Dale Cumbie of Moncks Corner, said he was still weighing his options for the vessel. Those options won't include slot machines and gaming tables.

"It will not be a casino boat," Cumbie said after the sale. "It will be a pleasure boat. I will probably remodel it and make a nice houseboat out of it."

The U.S. Marshals Service held the late-morning auction in the lobby of the post office on Broad Street in downtown Charleston. It lasted less than 10 minutes and was attended by roughly a dozen people. Cumbie was the only bidder to ante up. His $100,000 offer matched the minimum set by the Marshals Service.

The prior owner of the boat, Marine Charters II LLC, is registered to Myrtle Beach resident Alvin H. Shuman, who once had plans to offer offshore gambling cruises from North Charleston.

In 2010, Shuman's Diamond Casino Cruz II Inc. filed an application to operate a casino boat from the city, shortly after approval of a local ordinance allowing those type of cruises.

That venture was never pursued, and there have been no other efforts to launch a casino boat business from North Charleston, said city spokesman Ryan Johnson.

"After we passed (the ordinance) we got inquiries from all over, but no one followed up," Johnson said Friday. "I think the only correlation between us and the boat (that was sold Friday) is that we have a shipyard, and they were up for repairs."

Johnson said the city is not actively courting potential casino boat operators.

Sign up for our new business newsletter

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

"The trouble we found, even though it's allowed in North Charleston, is that we're almost too far from international waters," he said. "You either need a bigger boat, or a faster one."

Johnson said casino boat operators want to be able to reach international waters, where gambling can take place, in about 30 minutes.

The Diamond Royale has been docked in North Charleston since June 2012.

Its sale was authorized as part of a lawsuit Detyens Shipyard Inc. filed last year to recoup its money from the ship owner. The company said in court documents it was owed about $327,000 for repairs, storage fees and other expenses.

Shuman's Marine Charters II never responded to the complaint.

David Slade of The Post and Courier contributed to this story.