January 16, 2019
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Tugboat being towed after collision sinks off Maine coast

U.S. Coast Guard | BDN
U.S. Coast Guard | BDN
The 80-foot tugboat Capt Mackintire, near Portland, Maine, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. The tugboat later sank about three miles south of Kennebunk, Maine, in about 158 feet of water.The Coast Guard is working with federal, state, and local authorities to evaluate pollution potential and respond to reports of sheening in the area.

PORTLAND, Maine — A tugboat sank off the coast of southern Maine Thursday after colliding with another tug, according to a Coast Guard official.

The Capt. Mackintire sank about three miles south of Kennebunk early Thursday morning after the Coast Guard responded to a distress call from the crew of the second tug that had been towing it, according to Petty Officer Cynthia Oldham.

There were no injuries as a result of the collision or sinking and the Coast Guard is investigating whether any oil spilled, Oldham said.

Around 2 a.m. the crew of the 40-foot Helen Louise sent out a distress call after saying it had struck the Capt. Mackintire while towing the 80-foot vessel towards Portland, according to Oldham. The crew reported 12 knot winds and 6-foot seas at that time.

Two Coast Guard vessels responded to the call and one began towing the Capt. Mackintire while the other escorted the Helen Louise escorted to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the official said.

As the Coast Guard’s 87-foot Reef Shark was towing the unmanned Capt. Mackintire it began to sink into the 160 feet of water, Oldham said.

“It was just taking on water so rapidly they had to break the tow line and it just sunk rapidly after that,” she said.

A Coast Guard helicopter out of Cape Cod flew over the sight of the sinking Friday to look for an oil sheen on top of the water and is awaiting a report, according to Oldham.

The Coast Guard does not know how much fuel the Capt. Mackintire was carrying when it went down or why the tug was originally being towed, she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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