GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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February 19, 2013

Crews pump out sinking Maine boat

The Gloucester Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and the city harbormaster’s office combined efforts Monday to pump out the hull of a 76-foot trawler, the Allison & Melissa II, which was lashed alongside the Miss Trish II in Harbor Cove.

Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte said the crew of the Miss Trish II first noticed the Allison & Melissa II, owned by Bart McNeel, of Westbrook, Maine, was sitting too deeply at its mooring.

“It was two to three feet short of the hatch,” said Schlichte.

When the Fire Department arrived at the boat with pumps, Schlichte said they discovered the boat was sitting on the bottom at low tide.

“The engine room was under water,” he said.

A containment boom was put in place around the boat in case the pumping discharged water with oil, but the water was not contaminated, Schlichte said.

He said the pumping was done from both sides to ensure that the boat did not capsize. He also said he deduced that a pipe to one of the valves to the outside at or below water level had broken since the closing of the valves and the pumping stabilized the boat.

The operation lasted about three hours starting at about 11 a.m., Schlichte said.

About two dozen uniformed responders were involved in the operation, along with about six members of the crew of the Miss Trish II.

The Allison & Melissa II’s captain, Russell Desjardens, was also at the scene.

Contacted at his home in Maine, McNeel said he believed a valve had been left open, allowing the seawater to enter. He said no damage was done to the vessel.

Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com.

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