Sunken boat causing problems in harbor

TREMONT — Selectmen on Monday decided to take action regarding a fishing boat that sank in February and remains underwater in the federal dredge area in Bass Harbor.

Fisherman Charlie Dillon brought up the issue, saying he is unable to use his mooring because of a situation involving the derelict vessel.

Obsession, owned by Steve Butler, sank on its mooring on Feb. 22. Despite several unsuccessful attempts by the owner to raise the boat, it remains on the bottom.

Town Manager Dana Reed said he had the U.S. Coast Guard look at the sunken vessel last week. The Coast Guard said the boat is not a danger to navigation, an assessment that didn’t sit well with him or selectmen.

Reed said he had received reports of oil leaking from the vessel. It was windy on the day the Coast Guard investigated, and there was no visible sheen of oil on the water, he said. Dillon confirmed that oil is seeping from the boat.

If the sunken boat is to be removed, the town most likely will pay for the salvage effort, Reed told selectmen. The funds probably would come from the wharf management fund, he said.

Selectman Chris Eaton agreed that the town needs to address the matter.

“It’s not going to get done unless somebody intervenes,” he said.

The boat has been described as an older wooden vessel. Other than the salvage value of any metal on board, the boat is basically worthless, Eaton said.

“It’s got to come out and go to the dump,” he said.

The issue is to be discussed further at tonight’s (Thursday) harbor committee meeting.

On Tuesday, Reed said he expects the town to attempt to recover any money spent on the effort from Butler, but realistically that might not happen.

Reed was unsure of the size of the boat and said the owner reported about four gallons of fuel were in the vessel when it sank, he said.

In another harbor-related matter Monday, selectmen unanimously voted to appoint Reed as the town’s interim harbormaster. A search for a harbormaster is underway, and Reed is to oversee harbor operations until one is on board.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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