The Rick & Joe, a wooden fishing boat that has been tied up next to the Prudence Island ferry landing for years, started taking on water overnight and was resting on its starboard side in about nine to 12 feet of water by morning. Rhode Island DEM spokeswoman Gail Mastrati told reporters that about 230 gallons of diesel fuel were aboard, and contractors were being called in to pump out what did not spill; a strong smell of fuel hung in the air as late as 3 p.m. Workers from the United States Coast Guard, as well as the marine tow company Safe Sea and new Bristol Harbormaster Greg Marsilli, were on hand.
Harbormaster Marsilli declined to name the vessel’s owner, but said the plan is to wait and see how low the water gets as the tide falls. If it drops below the gunwales, he said workers may just attempt to float the boat by pumping her out. If the water does not drop below the gunwales, he said salvors may use lift bags to prop her up, then pump her out. As of 3 p.m. none of the fuel had been pumped off the boat, Harbormaster Marsilli said.