HAMPDEN, Maine — More than two years after it ran aground, a 57-foot fishing boat remains firmly lodged in the flats of the Penobscot River.
The boat, which has the name “Roamer” painted on its hull, was declared abandoned in January of last year. It is now up for salvage, according to Dan Prichard, director of the state Bureau of Parks and Lands Submerged Lands Program.
“The last I knew, the town of Hampden, Waterfront Marina and the state all were interested in having the vessel removed but no entity had the dedicated funds to do that,” Prichard said.
The vessel has been mired since July 20, 2011, when its former owner, Josh Mizrachi, who had renamed it the Eastern Star, lost control of it while conducting a sea trial on the Penobscot River near Waterfront Marine in Hampden.
The owner was trying to moor the boat in the river when the line got caught in the propeller, disabling the boat. The boat then drifted into the cove, eventually settling into the flats.
That wasn’t the first time the vessel had run into trouble. Six months before running aground in the Penobscot, the boat sank at a Rockland pier.
Despite the fluctuating tides and the former owner’s efforts to free the boat by pumping the water out and putting airbags underneath it, the vessel has yet to budge from the mudflat in which it came to rest.
Although many locals consider it an eyesore, the Coast Guard has said that the Roamer doesn’t pose any navigational hazard. In addition, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection determined that while a small amount of fuel spilled when the boat sank, it is no longer an environmental hazard.
Dean Bennett, Hampden’s community and economic development director, said last year that there were no plans to remove it, likely because the cost of doing so would be significant.
According to Prichard, the abandoned boat in Hampden is not unusual.
“There are wooden boat wrecks all over Maine,” he said.
If the boat breaks up or creates a hazard in the future, he said, there are legal provisions that would allow the state to go after the owner for removal costs.