ROCKLAND, Maine — A former ferry and floating restaurant that the city has threatened to seize for being abandoned broke its mooring Saturday and came close to crashing into the Breakwater.
Rockland Harbormaster Matthew Ripley credited the Rockland Coast Guard station with preventing damage to the 84-foot Monhegan or other vessels in the harbor. The Coast Guard was conducting training when it spotted the Monhegan heading toward the Breakwater.
After the Coast Guard corralled the Monhegan it was towed to the city’s middle pier by a private marine company and the city harbormaster.
The harbormaster said Saturday that he contacted the owner and directed her to have someone take responsibility for the Monhegan.
In June, Ripley had sent a letter to the owner of the Monhegan — Kinda Remick Priestley of East Greenwich, Rhode Island — to inform her that he had declared the vessel to be abandoned and that she had six months to move it or the city would seize it and sell it at auction.
Remick Priestley inherited the vessel from her father, Ray Remick, after he died in April 2014. The Monhegan has been moored since then in Rockland Harbor off Jameson Point. Ripley had warned in June that an unattended vessel left for a long time could break loose, damage other boats, damage harbor facilities or sink and leak fuel.
The vessel was originally built in 1959 as the William S. Silsby as one of the original ferries for the Maine State Ferry Service. The ferry began serving Swans Island in 1960, carrying up to 125 passengers and up to eight vehicles.
When Ray Remick acquired the Monhegan, he used it for charter trips as well as a floating restaurant that was docked in Rockland for more than a decade. Remick leased space each summer on the city-owned middle pier in Rockland and the public landing.
A 2010 article in Maine magazine talked about the restaurant aboard the vessel.
“If you’re curious about Rockland characters and up for a nightcap, head down to the floating Mermaid Lounge aboard the M/V Monhegan. Capt. Ray Remick, former rodeo trick rider, air force pilot and engineer, is always hosting a party, even when tied up at the dock. His highly customized boat is a former Maine state ferry that goes out for tours and charters during the day,” the article reads.