State seeks more time in Wiscasset ‘Minesweeper’ case
Christopher Morrison, owner of the Minesweeper which sank in a January 2018 blizzard, was scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 19 to answer charges of littering.
Morrison has acknowledged owning the vessel. He has stated he does not have the financial ability to remove it and that it was uninsured. If convicted and ordered to remove it, Morrison would not be able to do it, Matthew Gerety, state attorney, wrote.
Gerety filed a motion to continue the case based on information recently received by the defendant and Game Warden Corporal Dave Chabot of the Maine Warden Service’s Landowner Relations Program, which promotes public access to Maine’s lands and waters.
Since October, the state has been in conversation with this group, and at the end of January, Chabot indicated his program will be able to take “an active role in the process of removing the vehicle,” according to the motion. Chabot will coordinate with commissioners of the Departments of Environmental Protection, Marine Resources, and Inland Fish and Wildlife. Chabot told Gerety that he met with his dive team and planned to meet with his commissioner Feb. 12, but needs more time to obtain final approvals and implement his plan.
Based on these conversations, Gerety said in his motion, he believes “there is a reasonable likelihood that a continuance will lead to a resolution of this case that involves both acceptance of responsibility and actual removal of the vessel, while at the same time providing a community-building opportunity.”
Gerety asked that the case be continued to the next trial term. By then, he is hopeful the Warden Service’s program may have already raised and removed the vessel.