Good Samaritan tows disabled Maine ferry to safety

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(BOSTON) — The Coast Guard partnered with a good Samaritan on Friday to help 24 people aboard a 56-foot disabled passenger ferry east of Littlejohn Island, Maine.

A crewmember aboard the ferry Pied Piper notified watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in Portland, Maine, at about 10:30 a.m. reporting they were disabled, unable to hold anchor and drifting toward shore.

A 47-foot motor lifeboat crew and 29-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station South Portland were already underway for training and diverted to the assist the ferry passengers. The Coast Guard also issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from nearby vessels.

A good Samaritan aboard a vessel from Chebeague Island Boat Yard responded to the UMIB, arrived on scene and took the Pied Piper in tow. The Coast Guard response boats escorted the good Samaritan and disabled ferry to the pier.

The fishing vessel Retriever also responded to the UMIB and offered their assistance.

"Working at sea is a very unpredictable environment," said Lt. Scott McCann, command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. "The one thing can we can predict is how responsive and supportive our maritime partners are here in northern New England."

McCann said the Coast Guard takes all disabled vessels very seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, the Coast Guard inspected the ferry prior to clearing it for continued passenger operations.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff