TREMONT — Less than 24 hours after selectmen voted to use town funds to raise a fishing vessel that sank on its mooring in February, the Obsession was on the shore of Bass Harbor near Rich’s wharf.
Selectmen made their unanimous decision at a meeting Monday. Their action follows a May 7 decision by the harbor committee that found the boat, which is in the federal dredge area, to be a hazard to navigation. At that same meeting, the committee gave boat owner Steve Butler until May 13 to remove the boat or else the town would hire someone to do the work.
Wid Minctons, owner of the barge Charles Bradley, and his crew went to work Tuesday morning and had the vessel ashore by the early afternoon. A pulp truck was expected to haul off the wreckage on Wednesday.
At the scene Tuesday evening, Minctons said they removed the scallop gear from the boat then sent a diver down to attach straps around the hull. The crane on Charles Bradley pulled the boat to the surface and pushed it in to shore.
Butler also was at the site Tuesday evening and said he was grateful the boat sank on the mooring and that no one was injured. The 35-foot Obsession was built in the mid-70s in Boothbay Harbor, he said. He owned the boat for 10 years.
Selectmen did not know how much it would cost to remove the vessel when they made their decision Monday. Because of the extensive damage to the boat, it is difficult to estimate the cost of removal, Town Manager Dana Reed told selectmen.
“It’s literally split from stem to stern, and the wheelhouse is lying on its side,” Reed reported.
Reed said the cost could be as high as $4,000 to get the wreckage to shore. Disposal of the boat would add to the cost.
Butler, Reed said, is legally obligated to salvage the vessel but doesn’t appear to have the financial resources to do so. Butler has said he would take care of the disposal of the boat once it’s on shore, Reed said.
Selectmen were leery of Butler’s offer. Board member Chris Eaton said he was concerned that the disposal effort would not be timely. Reed replied that Butler and the town could enter a contract regarding his financial responsibilities, but even if it were signed by Butler, it wouldn’t ensure that the bill is paid.
The money spent so far most likely will come from the town’s general fund, Reed said.