Rhode Island ferry hits unmanned sailboats, Coast Guard investigates

BOSTON – Coast Guard crews responded to a report that a Newport, R.I., -based ferry had struck two empty sailboats in Newport Harbor at 3:48 p.m., today.

No injuries or pollution were reported. All vessels involved sustained minor scratches.

The crew of the 65-foot ferry Adirondack II reported the boat had become caught on an anchor line as they were leaving Newport. When they stopped the boat to free it from the line, it drifted into the sailboats which were tied to nearby mooring balls in the harbor.

Once the boat was free of the entanglement, the Adirondack II returned to the pier to offload the 17 passengers aboard.

Coast Guard Station Castle Hill launched a 41-foot boat crew who met the ferry at the pier at 3:58 p.m., and confirmed no one was injured and that all vessels involved were safely moored and had sustained only minor damage.

An Coast Guard investigator from Sector Southeastern New England is on scene to gather statements and help determine the cause for the incident.

“Our primary concern in a case like this is the safety of everyone aboard,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Trevor Shiel, the officer of the day at Coast Guard Station Castle Hill. “The captain did the right thing by returning to the pier and waiting for us to get there to assess the situation.”

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