Tangled propeller keeps whale-watching boat at sea overnight

Boston Harbor


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

(BOSTON) — The Coast Guard ensured the safe return Tuesday of the passenger vessel Cetacea, which became disabled about 13 miles east of Nahant, Mass., on Monday at about 4:30 p.m.

During a whale-watching cruise, the 83-foot passenger Cetacea notified Coast Guard Sector Boston that they were disabled with 163 people aboard after their propeller became entangled.

Boston Harbor Cruises deployed divers aboard the Gateway Endeavor to attempt to free the propeller. Additionally, the passenger vessel Nathaniel Bowditch was directed to the scene to attempt to transfer the passengers.

The Coast Guard cutter Tybee and a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Gloucester was diverted to the scene to assess and monitor the situation. The Coast Guard cutter Escanaba later also diverted to the vessel's position and provided medical personnel to assess the passengers and ensure their safety.

Initial attempts by the divers to clear the line from the propeller were unsuccessful. Original reports indicated a lobster pot line was caught in the propeller, but further analysis revealed it was a cable from Northeast Gateway's offshore facility which required additional dive resources and heavy-duty equipment for removal.

Considering the dangers of an at-sea night operation, a passenger transfer was deemed unsafe until morning. Meanwhile, Boston Harbor Cruises provided additional water, food and blankets to the passengers.

The Tybee and Escanaba remained on scene with the Cetacea through the night and Coast Guard medical personnel remained aboard to monitor for possible medical concerns.

At about 5:20 a.m., divers aboard the vessels Bunker Hill and Scarlett Isabella freed the line from the Cetacea's propeller and the Tybee escorted the Cetacea to Boston. All passengers safely disembarked the vessel near 8 a.m. at Long Wharf.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.


(BOSTON) — A whale-watching boat was forced to spend the night at sea after its propeller became entangled in a lobster trap line, Boston Daily reported. The Coast Guard was notified at 1630 on Monday that the 83-foot Cetacea, with 163 passengers and crew aboard, could not return to Long Wharf in Boston. Divers were able to clear the line from the propeller early Tuesday morning and the vessel returned to port.

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By Professional Mariner Staff