Coast Guard seeks cause of sinking of barge

TREMONT — The Acadia Fuel & Marine Co. barge Salvage III sank off Black Island south of Bass Harbor last Wednesday, Oct. 1, and the Coast Guard is still waiting for the owner and a Rockland salvage company, Prock Marine, to agree on a plan to raise the vessel. According to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Tim Balunis, the Southwest Harbor-based vessel began taking on water during a voyage last week and now lies completely submerged on its starboard side in about 50 feet of water near the site of the northernmost of the two Cooke Aquaculture Co. salmon farms along the western side of the island. Balunis said the one crewman on board escaped the sinking uninjured. Since the sinking, the Coast Guard and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection have been monitoring the site of the sinking of the self-propelled barge. According to Balunis, divers working at the fish farm plugged the barge’s fuel vents shortly after it sank. So far, there has been no sign that any diesel fuel or lubricating oil leaked into the water during the past week, Balunis said, but sea conditions were “too rough” for the Coast Guard or DEP to visit the site yesterday (Tuesday.) Balunis said the Coast Guard was “working with” Acadia “to develop a plan to dewater and refloat” the approximately 64-foot barge and hopes to know by this afternoon (Wednesday) when an attempt will be made to raise the sunken vessel. Weather conditions at the site were “too dangerous” for any salvage activities to be likely today, Balunis said.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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