In Lincoln County Dustrict Court Oct. 25, Christopher Morrison, owner of the Minesweeper, which sank in Wiscasset Harbor during a January blizzard, denied a civil charge of littering.
District Attorney Jon Liberman offered Morrison a deal: Pay a $500 fine, do 100 hours of community service, and remove the vessel. Under state statute, if Morrison is found guilty, he could be forced to pay three times the cost of removal, plus any court costs and attorney’s fees, in addition to a $500 fine and community service. Morrison could also face possible suspension of a motor vehicle license and professional licenses until the fines, fees and provisions are met.
Morrison’s next court date is Nov. 26. Because this is a civil charge with no risk of jail time, Morrison cannot have a court-appointed attorney to represent him.
Morrison once agreed to salvage the vessel, but later told the town of Wiscasset he can't afford to. The Minesweeper lies on the outer edge of the town’s mooring field, not far from Mason Station. It is not in the shipping lanes, but most of the time, it is covered with water and is not visible to boaters putting in at the harbor. A warning buoy was installed to alert recreational boaters.
The boat was reportedly built as a minesweeper in England, where it was bought. It was moored in Wiscasset Harbor for several years.