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Old 07-30-2014, 06:53 PM   #1
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Whale-watching tour stranded overnight off Boston

Whale-watching tour stranded overnight off Boston

By Elizabeth Barber, Reuters
Posted July 29, 2014, at 10:28 a.m.
BOSTON, Massachusetts — A planned three-hour whale-watching cruise off the Massachusetts coast turned into an all-night affair for 163 people aboard a boat that limped back into Boston Harbor on Tuesday morning.
The passengers and crew of the Boston Harbor Cruises boat Cetacea spent the night stranded off the coast of Nanhat, Massachusetts, about 8 miles north of Boston, after the boat’s propeller snagged on a cable, said Sheila Green, a spokeswoman for the company that operated the tour.
The vessel docked in Boston at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, after about 18 hours on the water, she said.
“Everybody got off without incident,” Green said.
The boat, carrying 157 passengers and a crew of six, had departed at 1:30 p.m. on Monday from Boston Long Wharf, a popular pier where sailboats, ferries and motorboats launch out into Boston Harbor.
Two-and-a-half hours later, the boat’s propeller caught on a 7-inch thick cable, called a messenger line, in the water near Nahant, said Green.
Three Coast Guard crews, including medical personnel, responded to the incident at about 4:30 p.m., and the two Coast Guard ships remained at the stranded boat’s side through the night, according to a Coast Guard statement.
Scuba divers cut the entangled cable and freed the ship early Tuesday, and the boat returned to Boston Wharf on its own power, Green said.
All passengers of the ill-fated tour will be given a refund, $500 in cash, and a $100 gift card to Boston Harbor Cruises, Green said.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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That's a pretty confused report. A 7" cable wouldn't be a messenger line. Maybe a messenger line would be connected to a 7" cable? And what the heck is a 7" cable doing anywhere near the surface? Maybe it was a tow hauser?
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:52 PM   #3
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Another report says it was a lobster pot line -

Stranded Whale Watchers Cheerfully Spout Off After Night at Sea - ABC News

So who knows? Every news service reports something different. Typical, and certainly not surprising.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:52 PM   #4
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Although the company did right for the passengers, that's one of the most irresponsible whale watch outfits I've ever encountered. I've been out there before and they regularly come screaming down on the whales, run in front of other boats, and generally operate in a hazardous manner. I have reported them in the past to the CG and NOAA because they regularly break numerous whale protection laws for the ohhhh-ahhhh benefit of their passengers.
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:50 AM   #5
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That sort of behaviour is very strictly policed and punished over here, where we are the midst of whale-watching season right now as well it appears. Probably the whales are going in different directions, all heading to warmer waters in our case, and back to colder waters in your case...

It would be interesting to hear an accurate account of what on earth it was they snagged on, but we may never know..?
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:45 AM   #6
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It would be interesting to hear an accurate account of what on earth it was they snagged on, but we may never know..?
Stay tuned. I have sent an inquiry to a guy who probably dived the boat. If he did he will know exactly what went on. That is if he can talk about it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:56 AM   #7
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Why wouldn't they just off-load the passengers to another vessel on the first day?
Surely there was a suitable vessel available that could do it in a couple trips?
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:03 AM   #8
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Possibly an at sea transfer might have been more/too dangerous ...especially if the Whale Watcher was limited in speed/maneuverability.

I've done quite a few and they never seem to go well.

Cheaper for the insurance company to ply them with cash. booze and impossible promises than one claim.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:32 AM   #9
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Just to add to the mystery, I think that boat is a jet drive, not a prop drive. It's definitely a high speed cat. Are such boats all jet drive? I don't know much about them.

There also was one comment after the ABC report where someone said that it was a 7" communications cable that they got hung up. Now what is a communications cable doing anywhere near the surface?
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:38 AM   #10
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So someone is without phone, internet, or TV.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:43 AM   #11
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And why the heck were they in and around Nahant? There are no whales there, and it's way out of the fly path between Boston and where the whales are. Although there has been a Beluga wondering around in various harbors this year which is extremely rare. Maybe captain Sachetti got a new job?
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:32 AM   #12
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There's a cable area clearly marked on the charts for that area. Were they over the cable area and snagged a "floater"?

A 7" line for a lobster pot sounds rather big.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:07 PM   #13
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If it was jet drive, hard to imagine fouling both jets.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:15 PM   #14
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Maybe they got a report of a 7" diameter sea serpent on the surface and went to check it out. The SS attacked the jet drive then morphed into a communications cable disguise! I feel a movie in the future.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:34 PM   #15
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Although the company did right for the passengers, that's one of the most irresponsible whale watch outfits I've ever encountered. I've been out there before and they regularly come screaming down on the whales, run in front of other boats, and generally operate in a hazardous manner. I have reported them in the past to the CG and NOAA because they regularly break numerous whale protection laws for the ohhhh-ahhhh benefit of their passengers.

We have equally irresponsible whale watching outfits in the Northwest as well. The problem is that they guarantee whale sightings. So they often turn on a dime, sometimes in narrow channels without regard to small pleasure craft nearby. The wakes that some of these boats give off is downright dangerous in some of our narrow passage ways.
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:00 PM   #16
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Maybe they got a report of a 7" diameter sea serpent on the surface and went to check it out. The SS attacked the jet drive then morphed into a communications cable disguise! I feel a movie in the future.
I was thinking it was the Kraken making a grab for those tourists, but sea serpents are more common, so you are probably correct.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:56 PM   #17
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S.S.Minnow went out on a 3 hour tour also.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:11 PM   #18
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Though it does not make much sense to me, the "cable" is reported now to be a "mooring cable" associated with an off shore docking location for off-loading LNG. Has never been used since the price of LNG and supplies from fracking cratered the market. Still odd that it would be off shore and not highly visible with flashing lights, marker buoys etc. Sounds a bit like the fish traps near Newport --- but that's a different story!!!
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:08 PM   #19
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gCaptain reported that it was a cable for an offshore LNG hookup. Those hookups are underwater hookups. They also reported that the area around the LNG hookup was a restricted area so the whahl watcher should not have been there. Might have been chasing whales and not watching charts!
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:40 PM   #20
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Though it does not make much sense to me, the "cable" is reported now to be a "mooring cable" associated with an off shore docking location for off-loading LNG. Has never been used since the price of LNG and supplies from fracking cratered the market. Still odd that it would be off shore and not highly visible with flashing lights, marker buoys etc. Sounds a bit like the fish traps near Newport --- but that's a different story!!!

OK, I know exactly where those LNG stations are. There are two between Gloucester where I live, and Boston, right off of Salem. They are nowhere near Nahant. Although it's possible there would be whales in that area (there are no fences), it would be very unusual. They feed off the edges of the banks, and that's not anywhere near the LNG ports. There also is a service boat that sits out at the LNG stations 24/7 and would have warned them away. And yes, the LNG hook up is way below the surface. It's no more of a hazard that a navigation buoy.

I looked at their AIS track this morning and unfortunately it doesn't show back long enough to see where they were actually hung up. I did see that they went to Rose Marine in Gloucester in the past 24 hrs, presumably for haul-out, check, repair. They get hauled at Rose's every winter (I see them go by, and see them at the yard).
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