April 08, 2020

Rockland trawler, Bahamian tanker collide in Atlantic

ROCKLAND – The 108-foot fishing vessel Sunlight collided late Wednesday night with the 891-foot oil tanker Erik Spirit about 20 nautical miles southeast of Portland Head Light in the northern outbound shipping lane, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Thursday.

Lt. Connie Braesch of the Coast Guard in Portland said one person on the Sunlight suffered minor injuries. She could not provide information on how many people were on board either of the vessels or the captains’ names.

The badly damaged O’Hara Corp. fishing vessel made it back to its Tillson Avenue dock Thursday under its own power, after being escorted home by a Coast Guard Station Boothbay Harbor vessel.

A man on board the Sunlight on Thursday appeared to be assessing the extensive damage to the steel bow of the herring trawler. The collision damage extended to the port beam, which had smaller dents and scratches. A call to Frank O’Hara of O’Hara Corp. on Thursday was not returned.

The Coast Guard could offer few details about the collision because the case is under investigation, Braesch said, and there were no witnesses.

The Coast Guard could not say which vessel hit which, she said, adding, “The navigation rules will help define that.”

The Coast Guard received a call shortly before 11 p.m., Wednesday reporting there had been a collision, she said.

Braesch said the Erik Spirit had been moored in Portland off-loading crude oil.

According to a Web site, TeeKay Shipping Ltd. of Glasgow is manager for Erik Spirit LLC, whose port is Nassau, Bahamas. The oil tanker was built in 2005 by Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., Koje Shipyard in South Korea.

The extent of damage, if any, to the oil tanker was unknown.

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