According to a statement by Fall River’s Harbormaster Bob Smith, another emergency call was placed today concerning a “sinking boat” near the Braga Bridge. Assets from Fall River Police, Fire, and Harbormaster were dispatched for a water rescue. Again this turned out to be the shellfish dredge boat operating near the bridge. The 911 calls come in from passing motorists on the bridge. The dredge boat sits very low in the water and moves in tight circles while discharging a huge stream of water. To passersby it looks like a vessel in trouble. The caller indicated that it appeared that a 2nd boat was approaching it to help. This is the 4th call in the past 2 weeks for this dredge boat and is diverting valuable resources away from the City according to Smith.
What added to the troubles today was the greeting the Harbormaster received from the perceived sinking boat. When the boat in question, the Ocean Rancher, was approached they were met with vulgar and obscene language, while the Captain turned his boat aggressively towards the Harbormaster boat. USCG was contacted.
According to Smith, MA. Dept. of Marine Fisheries continues to ignore the Fall River request to be included in the supervision of these dredgers (from Fairhaven and New Bedford).