60-foot barge belonging to Pemaquid Mussel Farms sank during January 17th winter storm, off Lamoine State Park
It sank on its mooring during the Martin Luther King Day storm last month.
Joy Hollowell tells us what happened.
“When it sank, actually, nobody heard about it in the local area. Nobody knew about it,” says Kathleen Rybarz, Lamoine Board of Selectmen and member of Friends of Frenchmen Bay.
A winter storm on January 17th brought high winds and rough seas to many parts of the coast. Tat same day, a 60-foot mussel farming barge known as Mumbles sank off Lamoine State Park.
“And it was only the equipment that fell off of it that alert people to the sinking,” says Rybarz.
The barge belongs to Pemaquid Mussel Farms based out of Bucksport. It was moored at the time having harvested mussels from Eastern Bay just the day before. The vessel now sits 50 feet below the surface.
I spoke with the owner of the barge. He didn’t want to go on camera but he told me they hope to begin bringing the vessel up sometime this week. Divers were in the water Monday assessing the situation.
“For me, it’s a matter of – will the fuel on board harm the coastline?” asks Rybarz.
Pemaquid Mussel Farms owner Carter Newell says, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection confirms, there is no fuel currently leaking from the barge. The official cause of sinking is unknown. Previous efforts to raise it through flotation devices were thwarted by drifting ice, rough seas, and high winds.
Once the barge is salvaged, plans are to repair it to be back in operations by June.
Pemaquid Mussel Farms is in the process of expanding the Eastern Bay site for more than a mile from shore. The owner tells TV5 it is in deep waters that are not currently fished for lobsters.
As for Mother Nature, Newell says he plans on getting a storm mooring up in the Mount Desert Narrows, which is better protected from storms.