Photo: Fishing boat sinks at Bristol dock


A faulty bilge pump may be to blame for the sinking of a 46-foot fishing vessel at Bristol's Church Street dock Friday.

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.


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Here's hoping this doesn't set off a pogrom against small commercial vessels mooring on Bristol docks, who are having enough problems as it the looks of the photo, this boat has not been working on a consistent basis recently, as there is no net on the stern reel and the boat is, well, just too CLEAN to be an active vessel, lol.

The main question in my mind is why it was carrying that much fuel if it spent the bulk of its time parked at the dock. Presumably, aided by a faulty bilge pump (if that is indeed the case), the heavy rains caused the flooding problem - another possible indication that this boat is not terribly active, as in these conditions responsible fishing boat owners tend to watch carefully the vessel(s) that provide their livelihoods.

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