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Grounded fishing boat a potential hindrance for Hampden marina

Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN
Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN
The Roamer, which ran aground months ago, still sits in a cove near the Hampden-Bangor town line on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.
By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

HAMPDEN, Maine — Almost seven months after running aground on the Hampden waterfront, The Roamer hasn’t lived up to its old name, as it remains embedded in a mud flat in a small cove on the Penobscot River.

Not much has changed since Josh Mizrachi lost control of his 57-foot fishing boat, renamed The Eastern Star, on July 20 and it drifted into the cove, eventually settling into the flats.

“Basically, unless something drastic happens, it’ll be there for a while longer,” said Dean Bennett, Hampden’s community and economic development director. “No current plans are ongoing [that] I’m aware of to remove it, probably because the expense is a significant one.”

The 48-year-old boat does look different, however. While the town of Hampden, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard all have declined to move the boat, some employees of a nearby private business removed the boat’s mast and other equipment.

“We started dismantling it,” said Tim Rogers, manager of The Waterfront Marine store off Main Road in Hampden. “We took the mast off along with some other odds and ends that were safety concerns.”

While The Roamer is not a safety concern as long as it remains in its current location and state, it could become one.

“It’s potentially a hindrance for the marina,” Bennett said. “If it breaks up or shifts position with the ice accumulating and shifting on the river, it could be a problem for Waterfront Marine, especially if we have boats moored out there.”

The boat was considered abandoned in October after Mizrachi was unable to free it, shifting jurisdiction over the boat to the Maine DEP, according to Hampden Town Manager Susan Lessard.

That changed after the boat was inspected by Maine agency officials.

“As it sits right now, it seems no one has jurisdiction over it,” Bennett said. “The DEP has no jurisdiction because there is no threat of any pollution, and the Coast Guard has none because the vessel is no hindrance to navigation of that waterway.

“According to my conversations with the DEP, there are minimal amounts of fuel in the boat, so it definitely doesn’t rise to the level of being any kind of concern for the DEP.”

That doesn’t help the folks at Waterfront Marine.

“If it stays right where it is, it won’t be a problem, but it is kind of an eyesore, and it’s a distraction as everyone wants to come and take a look and take pictures,” said Rogers. “And the problem there is sometimes we get people wandering onto our property near the shoreline and you can slip and fall on the bank, especially little kids with all those loose rocks and loose, wet footing.”

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