(FORT MORGAN, Ala.) - Ferry service between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan has been shut down indefinitely by a fishing vessel that ran into its dock, and the boat’s owner is having trouble affording its removal according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard said the 45-foot fishing boat experienced transmission problems on Friday and the ship's crew anchored the boat near the Mobile Ferry Dock on the Fort Morgan side of the channel.
Over the weekend, they say the vessel drifted and ran into a piling and partially sunk where the ferry docks.
The Coast Guard launched a hazmat cleanup effort Sunday that successfully removed 150 gallons of oil from the boat, and it’s now a matter of removing the boat so the ferry can resume business.
The Coast Guard says its role is done, and it’s the responsibility of the ferry owners or the vessel’s owner to pay a salvage crew.
“At this point you’re going to need a crane barge,” James Nelson of Nelson Boatyard in Gulf Shores said.
Nelson was called by the ship’s owner to see if he could somehow salvage it, but the condition and location of the boat was beyond his capabilities.
“I told him a crane barge runs at least $5,000, and [the ship’s owner] said he didn’t have that kind of money right now,” Nelson said.
Nelson also said crane barges aren’t readily available.
“The earliest they could bring a crane barge would be tomorrow afternoon most likely,” Nelson said. “I imagine it’s still at least a couple of days away from getting everything removed.”
Local 15 News reached one of the ferry’s owners by phone who said their business is shut down until the boat’s owner gets a salvage crew in. Fortunately, it’s off-season right now and traffic is light.