TREMONT — The owner of a sunken fishing boat has until Wednesday to remove the vessel from Bass Harbor or the town planned to take over the salvage effort.
Harbor committee members made the decision at their May 7 meeting after discussing the situation with Steve Butler, the owner of Obsession, which sank on its mooring on Feb. 22.
The committee approved 6-0 a motion that, if the Obsession is not out of the harbor by May 13, the town will determine the vessel to be a hazard to navigation and use public funds to remove it.
According to Town Manager and interim harbormaster Dana Reed, Butler has made several unsuccessful attempts to raise the boat.
“While I can sympathize with Mr. Butler’s position, it has become a problem,” Reed said of the sunken boat.
Butler assured committee members he plans to continue his efforts. Health problems have slowed the process, he said.
“I’ll give her a go. Moneywise, I’m taking care of it,” he said. “The town doesn’t need to spend any money.”
Like Reed, committee members were sympathetic to Butler’s plight. However, they had concerns about the town’s liability regarding the sunken vessel and the fact that it interfered with the use of other moorings. Butler did not object to setting a deadline for raising the boat.
Reed said a “rough estimate” for salvaging the boat is $3,000. The money most likely would come from the harbor management fund. At this time, the town is unsure if those expenses can be recovered from Butler or through another source.
Butler’s boat is in the federal dredge area of the harbor. Reed contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the issue, but as of Monday, had not heard back.