The private commercial vessel Island Transporter was ferrying a cement truck from Rockland to North Haven on Thursday, Dec. 11, when high waves caused the truck to shift on the deck of the boat and tip onto its side, leaving the vessel listing. The U.S. Coast Guard in Rockland reported that the vessel succeeded in making the crossing, with no one injured.
Kyle Willette, a machinist technician with the Coast Guard, said the Rockland station was notified of the incident at about 9:30 a.m. The truck slid or shifted when the Island Transporter was off the Owls Head lighthouse, Willette said, not far from Rockland harbor, but the operator decided to continue traveling to North Haven.
“He picked up a bit of swell,” Willette said, where waves were 7-feet high in the morning, but by 11 a.m. had increased to 11-feet high.
“Basically, he limped his way to North Haven over the next two hours,” he said.
A phone message left with David Whitney, owner and operator of the Rockland-based Island Transporter, was not returned.
Sources who work on the state ferry who were familiar with the incident said the vessel was more than halfway to North Haven when the truck tipped. The truck was not tied down, according to those sources. Had the truck been tied to the deck, the wave that tipped the truck may have tipped the Island Transporter as well, they said.
Ferry crew said the Island Transporter appeared to be at nearly a 45-degree angle for a time after the truck tipped.
The Coast Guard’s 175-foot cutter Abbie Burgess and a 47-foot vessel responded to the Fox Island Thoroughfare and stood by as the Island Transporter moored, Willette said.