BAR HARBOR, Maine — A barge that sank in heavy surf as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Maine last week has been recovered from the local harbor.
The 50-foot barge, used for marine construction and salvage operations, was left tied up to its mooring in Bar Harbor as the storm approached Maine early last week because of “operational issues,” according to local Harbormaster Charlie Phippen. The vessel sank on its mooring and came to rest on the harbor bottom.
On Tuesday, marine contractors with Prock Marine hoisted the sunken barge back to the surface and towed it over to the municipal pier, according to Phippen. He said officials with the Coast Guard and with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection were on hand to make sure the sunken barge did not pose a threat to navigation in the harbor and that it did not leak out any polluting fuel into Frenchman Bay.
“It’s laying alongside the pier right now,” Phippen said Tuesday.
He said he thinks the barge can be repaired and reused but that it “definitely needs work.”
Phippen added that an exterior fuel tank that was on the barge became separated from the vessel as it sank and has not yet been recovered.
“We’re still not sure where that ended up,” he said.
Several compartments in the barge flooded as it sank, the harbormaster said, but only the engine compartment posed any concerns to officials. DEP decided to pump that compartment out and to treat the water in it in case the engine leaked a significant quantity of oil or fuel into the compartment while it was underwater, he said. The barge showed no signs of significant leaking into the bay either after it sank or after it was refloated.
“I don’t think it had 50 gallons of fuel on it,” Phippen said.
The barge is owned by local resident Robert Collier. Attempts to contact Collier about the barge have been unsuccessful.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.