January 13, 2020
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Coast Guard investigates sinking of fishing boats owned by smuggler

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
A 47-foot boat is seen at the United States Coast Guard station in Rockland in this BDN file photo.

The Coast Guard is investigating two sunken fishing boats in New Bedford, Massachusetts, harbor.

The Coast Guard says the New Bedford Fire Department found the vessels tied together with a sheen around them early Monday. Firefighters placed a containment boom to mitigate pollution.

The 65-foot Dinah Jane and 67-foot Nemesis are from New Bedford. The Standard-Times reports Carlos Rafael, a magnate known as “The Codfather,” owns them.

Rafael pleaded guilty to smuggling money to Portugal and evading fishing quotas. In September, he was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

An activated emergency beacon aboard one of the vessels alerted the Coast Guard at about 1 a.m. Monday.

The boats reportedly can carry about 9,500 gallons of fuel combined.

The Coast Guard is coordinating the cleanup and investigating the cause.

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