HAMPDEN, Maine — For the second time in about six months, a ship formerly named the Roamer ran into trouble.
The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment out of Belfast and the Department of Environmental Protection responded to calls Thursday morning that a 57-foot fishing vessel ran aground late the previous night, according to Marine Science Technician 3rd Class Jesse Hagler.
The vessel’s owner was “doing a sea trial” on the Penobscot River near Waterfront Marine in Hampden, Hagler said. When the owner tried to moor the Roamer in the river, the line got caught in the propeller, disabling the boat.
“It drifted into that muddy cove and the tide went out and there she is,” Hagler said.
The boat’s official name has changed to the Eastern Star, Hagler said, but its hull still identifies it as the Roamer.
At low tide, the boat’s hull was fully exposed, tilted to its port side. When the tide came in, DEP workers saw a “sheen” around parts of the hull, indicating that there was a fuel leak, according to DEP spokeswoman Samantha Depoy-Warren.
The DEP placed a boom around the boat to contain the spill. Depoy-Warren said the vessel could hold a maximum of 20 gallons of fuel, so the environmental threat to the river would be almost nonexistant.
“Usually I wouldn’t even hear about a spill this size,” Depoy-Warren said, but the boat could be seen from Route 1A and drew the interest of passers-by, so DEP crews kept her informed. “At this point it’s more of a navigational hazard than an environmental threat.”
The DEP and Coast Guard have had to clean up after this boat before.
In January, the boat sank while docked at a Rockland pier, with no explanation as to why. The DEP had to place a boom around the vessel to contain that fuel spill as well. The Roamer was salvaged and towed up the Penobscot River to Bangor, according to Hagler.
The owner’s name could not be confirmed Thursday evening.
Depoy-Warren said the boat was in “pretty poor condition” when it sank in Rockland.
Hagler said it was the owner’s call if he wanted to salvage the boat a second time, and he was exploring his options and “he’s doing everything he can to float her out.”
Hagler said he would contact the owner early Friday to find out what he planned to do with the boat.
Depoy-Warren said she was disturbed at the suggestion that the Roamer might float again.
“I hope the owner makes the responsible decision and keeps it off the water,” she said.