Tanker hits three moored sailboats off NH coast (UPDATE)

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(NEW CASTLE, N.H.) — A tanker struck three moored sailboats Wednesday near the mouth of the Piscataqua River between Maine and New Hampshire, the Portland Press Herald reported. A spokesman for the Coast Guard said the service believes the 477-foot Chem Venus hit a ledge, then lost its steering system and struck the sailboats. No injuries or pollution were reported.

Click here to read the newspaper's story.

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

(BOSTON) — Coast Guard crews are continuing to monitor the tanker Chem Venus on Thursday afternoon after it struck bottom near Goat Island Ledge and allided with three unmanned sailboats on the Piscataqua River near the Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine border.

Chem Venus began taking on water due to damage sustained during the grounding, then was stabilized and monitored by the ship's crew and Coast Guard responders. The vessel was carrying a load of used vegetable oil and a variety of other industrial chemicals.

Salvage divers arrived to assess the extent of the damage Thursday afternoon and found a tear measuring 3 feet by 10 feet.

The owner of Chem Venus is expected to develop a salvage plan which will be reviewed and approved by the Coast Guard.

Chem Venus is currently safely anchored outside the Piscataqua River.

"We are fortunate that no one was injured and the event did not cause any pollution," said Capt. Michael Baroody, captain of the port, Sector Northern New England. "We are working with our port partners to determine all of the factors that contributed to the grounding, and subsequent allision with the sailing vessels."

The cause of the grounding and allision is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff