Schooner that ran aground in Mystic River reaches Noank Shipyard

Published June 19. 2017 9:05AM | Updated June 20. 2017 9:34PM

By Lindsay Boyle   Day staff writer

The schooner Alabama rests hard aground off Morgan Point in Noank Monday, June 19, 2017. The vessel ran aground around high tide on Sunday afternoon and the U.S. Coast Guard dispatched a small boat crew from the station in New London to remove the 17 passengers to shore. The 126-foot former pilot schooner, built in the design of classic a Gloucester fishing schooner in 1926, is operated by Black Dog Tall Ships out of Vineyard Haven. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Mystic — A 126-foot schooner that ran aground near the mouth of the Mystic River on Sunday evening is now docked at Noank Shipyard, where the Coast Guard is inspecting the vessel.

The John Paul, one of the tugboats from the Thames Towboat Company of New London, arrived a little before 5 p.m. Monday and hooked up a line to the stern of the schooner Alabama and pulled it backward, freeing it.

At about 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound learned the Alabama was in trouble, officials said in a news release. Officials there launched a boat from Coast Guard Station New London. The New London-based crew quickly located the schooner and safely transferred its 17 passengers to the Noank Shipyard in Groton.

The rescue on Sunday comes just shy of seven years after the same schooner ran aground in nearly the same spot on July 8, 2010. The schooner was outbound at the time and got stuck near a light structure informally called “Noank Light 5.”

In that case, it took about 24 hours to refloat the Alabama.

The area is tricky one for mariners to navigate with strong currents, shallow water and a winding channel. In 2015, when the restored Charles W. Morgan whaling ship left Mystic Seaport on its 38th voyage, it became stuck in the same area for a few minutes before tugs were able to push it free.

Marine investigators with the Coast Guard planned to investigate the vessel to ensure its integrity before allowing it to operate again. No injuries or pollution were reported.

Built in 1926, the Alabama is based in Vineyard Haven, Mass., and operated by the Black Dog Tall Ships. The company could not be reached for comment.





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