Tag from famed boat Hannah Boden with Westport Island connection washes up in Ireland

Williams: ‘It had to go somewhere’
Posted:  Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 7:00am
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In the last couple of weeks, Jon Williams has been hearing from a lot of people about a little piece of plastic a beachcomber found in Ireland. Williams, of Westport Island, is one of the new co-owners of the former Wiscasset Primary School; he also owns the Massachussetts-based Red Atlantic Crab Company, which owns the boat the tag came from, the Hannah Boden.

The boat is still in service, after surviving the 1991 storm that claimed its sister ship, the Andrea Gail and her crew. The storm became the subject of books and the 2000 film, “The Perfect Storm.”

“For good or bad, (Hannah Boden) may be the most famous boat on the East Coast,” Williams said in a phone interview Monday after the Wiscasset Newspaper called seeking comment. He said he’s not much of a Facebook person, but he has friends who are, and they and others have been sending him reports of the  beachcomber’s recent find. The item is a cut, plastic tag off gear from the boat. A few years ago, he sold some gear, and when that happens, the old tags are cut off and new ones put on, Williams explained.

The best he can figure, the tag was cut and most likely was lost accidentally into the water near Georges Bank, then traveled on currents for thousands of miles to the County Clare, Ireland beach. He wasn’t surprised to learn it had washed up.

It was a very small piece of plastic in a very big ocean, Williams said. “It had to go somewhere.” Offering some perspective, Williams cited a find he once made fishing near Virginia: a lobster buoy belonging to a Boothbay Harbor fisherman.

The only thing he found somewhat surprising was where the Hannah Boden tag turned up. He would have thought it would have gone another way; but he’s not an expert on all the world’s currents, he added.

He’s never heard of any of his boats’ tags turning up before now, and believes the Hannah Boden’s fame has a lot to do with the find making news in Ireland and traveling around online. Several online, marine-related outlets have posted links to an article on irishexaminer.com.

Williams does not expect to recover the tag and is not going to try. “It’ll be worth more to the person who found it than it would to me.” He thought the beachcomber may have sent him one of the many emails he’s gotten on the tag; he wasn’t certain, because he’s been getting so many.