U.S. Coast Guard

Derelict vessel sinks off Birch Point

Posted:  Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 8:30am

A 66-foot vessel sank off Birch Point in Wiscasset during the Jan. 4 snowstorm. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the ship was scheduled to be salvaged by owner Chris Morrison on Jan. 8.

The Waterfront Committee has expressed concern about the derelict vessel for more than a year. Members held a long discussion about it in August and asked the harbor master to speak to the owner about its condition. According to the committee, the boat had holes just above the waterline large enough to put a fist through.

David King Sr. of Woolwich said he was fairly certain the boat was built in England during World War II. “As I understand it, its owner purchased it in Ireland and brought it across the ocean himself. Several years ago it was towed to Wiscasset from Boothbay and wound up being moored in the harbor,” he said.

King serves as dock master of the Wiscasset Yacht Club. “From what I’ve been told this vessel was built by the British to be used as a minesweeper. Its hull is made of wood, not steel and it was equipped with a diesel engine. It also had a sail mast.” The boat went down about 100 yards or so from the yacht club. Its mast is visible above the water at low tide, he continued.

William Sutter of Federal Street, a former Wiscasset harbor master,  guessed the area where the boat sank to be between 35 and 40 feet deep. “That’s a pretty close estimate considering you can see the top of her mast during low tide.”

Said Sutter of the boat, “I was told it was built in England as a minesweeper with the intent it be used as a fishing trawler when the war ended.”